The Chargers seem to have everything on their side as they take on the Titans Sunday at home. They are playing their best football of the season, and are taking on a Titans team that seems reeling with injuries on offense. With that though, they cannot take this Tennessee team lightly, as they almost lost to them just about a month ago. Here are five keys that the Chargers need to do to top the Titans at home Sunday:
1. Force the Titans to be One-Dimensional on Offense – This pretty much speaks for itself, as the Titans are going to want to run the ball to set up the pass, as they are banged up in the pass catching core and will need to run to be successful. LenDale White ran for 133 yards against the Chargers the first time, and Tennessee runs mostly inside the tackles, so San Diego has to play better in that regard and force the pass.
2. Use LT as Much as Possible – In the first game they were unable to get much going with LaDainain Tomlinson until late in the game, but once he got rolling, he was hard to stop. The team cannot get into those lapses where they forget to give him the ball enough. It could even be in the passing game, where they can swing it out to him in the open field. LT has 100+ yards in four of the past five games, the only way he’ll have that here is by having plenty of chances.
3. Phillip Rivers Must Stay Focused – Rivers has a QB rating of over 100 in three of his last four games, and he’s been doing that by using tight end Antonio Gates and wide out Chris Chambers, who seems poised to have a big game here. Look for the Chargers to take advantage of the fact that Titans safety Chris Hope is out of the lineup, and if Rivers can stay within himself early and they run the ball with success, they should be able to get the ball down the field in bunches and wear down the Titans secondary.
4. Contain Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch – Both these studs on the Titans D-line can be game changers in terms of sacks and stops. The first time they played Vanden Bosch had three sacks, and also forced Rivers into a few bad passes. If it means rolling the pocket a bit to allow for Rivers to have more time, or running more to the outside with LT, then do it, as both these guys can make it a long day and make some negative plays for the Chargers offense.
5. Don’t Allow the Titans to Build Any Confidence – Despite the injuries, the Titans know they can play with the Chargers based on their first meeting. Here, the Chargers need to simply come out swinging, and if they can build an early 7-10 point lead it may take the wind out of the emotional sails of the Titans no matter who is playing QB. Tennessee plays every game pretty much close to the vest, so if they get behind there is a good chance you can get them to fold. The Chargers have blown out Tennessee in their last three games in San Diego, and if they get up early on them they should be able to do it again.