They must take care of the Football. Mainly Philip Rivers, we saw in the Saturday Wild Card games how turnovers can kill a team’s playoff run. Big Ben and Todd Collins both turned the ball over too much on Saturday and it was the main reason they lost. Rivers has played OK of late with a QB rating over 100 in each of the final 3 games. But San Diego will be in trouble if they need Rivers to win the football game for them.
A successful running game will take the pressure off of Philip Rivers and make it much easier for him to find open targets. Rivers should do something Roethilsberger did in the second half against the Jaguars. He went to his favorite targets: TE Heath Miller and WR Hines Ward. Rivers needs to look at Antonio Gates and Chris Chambers the same way if he gets into any trouble on Sunday.
Establishing the running game might take some persistence against Tennessee as they are a solid run defense. Albert Haynesworth is one of the best players in the NFL and along with Kyle Vandenbosch, they can make it difficult for teams to run. But Norv Turner must hand the ball to LT early and often. Haynesworth comes into the game a little banged up and I think the Chargers should attack him and run right at him with double teams in the first quarter.
The Chargers must pressure the QB. If it is Vince Young, they have to get to him before he can scramble and pick the D apart with his legs. If the QB is Kerry Collins they have to get to him before he can pick apart the D with his arm. San Diego has had the most success pressuring the QB when they blitz at least 2 LB’s and they must do that again today. I’ve got a gut feeling that Shawne Merriman is going to seriously maim a Titans QB or RB.
Getting pressure will be all for not if the Chargers are unable to stop the run. The Chargers are the same team that allowed the most rushing yards ever in a game to rookie Adrian Peterson and while Chris Brown and LenDale White are no Peterson they are still good backs and San Diego must tackle well and not allow them any second chance yards. The Steelers didn’t tackle well most of the first half against Jacksonville and gave up a ton of big plays, San Diego can not let that happen to them.
The San Diego D has the most interceptions in the league and they will need to create turnovers to win. Just as committing turnovers will kill your playoff run, creating turnovers will kill their playoff run. Pressuring the QB into throwing ill advised passes will give the San Diego DB’s all the opportunity they need to pick one off and take it back.
NO STUPID PLAYS. San Diego lost to the Pats last season because of a few single stupid plays; the penalties, the returning of the INT and the attempt at picking up a muffed punt and running. The Chargers have to make the smart play all day long. Especially with bad blood from last game still lingering the Chargers must keep their heads on straight and not commit personal fouls. Personal foul penalties can extend a drive for an opposing offense while they absolutely stall your offensive drives.