Titans vs Chargers: Keys to victory

Two playoff contenders clash at LP Field this weekend as the Titans (7-5) host the Chargers (7-5) in a pivotal AFC match-up. After snapping a three-game losing streak with a victory over Houston last week, the Titans will be looking to sustain their success as they continue their pursuit of an AFC playoff berth.
The Chargers made national headlines in the offseason as a result of their controversial decision to fire coach Marty Schottenheimer. Despite leading the team to a 14-2 record, Schottenheimer was relieved of his duties and replaced by coaching vagabond Norv Turner. Turner’s club, after getting off to a sluggish start, has started to assert themselves as of late, winning three of their last four games and building a commanding two game lead in what appears to be an extremely mediocre AFC West division.
The following objectives should be of importance to the Titans as they attempt to earn their 8th win of the season:
Avoid the turnover bug
At various times this season, the Titans have been able to win ballgames in spite of numerous turnovers. In wins versus the Falcons and the Panthers, Tennessee turned the ball over a combined nine times but they were able to resiliently emerge as victors in those contests. On the season, the Titans have turned the ball over 28 times (14 fumbles, 14 INT’s).
On Sunday, the Titans will face a very opportunistic San Diego defense. The Chargers lead the league in creating turnovers, intercepting a league-high 20 passes while forcing opponents to fumble on 13 occasions. Contrary to the games against the Falcons and the Panthers, the Titans may not be able to overcome their own mistakes against a team of San Diego’s magnitude. Avoiding turnovers against the Chargers is critical to the Titans’ chances of winning this week.
Contain San Diego’s unheralded playmakers
Most of the focus bestowed upon San Diego’s offense is geared towards LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. The two are perennial Pro Bowlers and are the source of nightmares for all of the league’s defensive coordinators.
Receivers Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are the beneficiaries of all of the attention garnered by Tomlinson and Gates. Both Jackson and Chambers possess the combination of size and speed and are more than capable of wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. At 6’5” and 241 pounds, Jackson’s height allows him to thrive in one-on-one match-ups with smaller defensive backs.
In addition to keying on Tomlinson and Gates, Jim Schwartz and the Titans’ defense must do a good job of containing San Diego’s unheralded receivers.
Give Chris Brown the football
In last week’s win over the Texans, Chris Brown showed a nice burst in limited opportunities, carrying the football 11 times, gaining 46 yards while scoring a touchdown.
On the season, Brown has averaged close to five yards per carry (4.9), which is over a yard more than LenDale White’s meager 3.6 yards per run. Brown, despite being injury-prone, hits the hole harder than White and is capable of breaking the big play. Personally, I’d like to see what Brown can do with a greater workload: perhaps he could provide a spark to the Titans’ rushing attack.

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