By Dave Thomas
After surviving a wild 33-30 victory in Philadelphia on Sunday, the San Diego Chargers can only hope that they do not have to out duel the Tennessee Titans this coming Sunday in the same fashion.
Blowing a 21-point lead less than a week earlier in a 31-28 loss at home to the Houston Texans, San Diego (1-1) nearly managed to give another game away this past Sunday. When all was said and done, however, San Diego managed to survive its trip to Philadelphia, posting a 33-30 victory over the Eagles.
Game three of the young season finds the Chargers heading to Music City later this weekend, where they will face the 1-1 Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Tennessee, which caught the eyes of a few NFL “experts” in the season-opener by beating Pittsburgh (16-9), had defending AFC South champ Houston on the ropes this past Sunday at Reliant Stadium, ultimately falling overtime 30-24.
Titans Getting Some Attention After Two Weeks
While the Titans could have emerged as the only team in the AFC South with an unbeaten record had they won, they no doubt have the attention of the Chargers and others around the NFL.
In the loss to Houston, the Titans rallied from a 16-10 fourth quarter deficit to go ahead 24-16. Holding an eight point lead late in the contest, Tennessee watched Houston tie things up when running back Arian Foster rushed it in from a yard out, then added the two-point conversion on another one-yard run. The Titans had gone up by a touchdown in the fourth quarter when defender Alterraun Verner intercepted Houston’s Matt Schaub and took it in from 23 yards out.
In the overtime session, Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins stepped in for the injured Andre Johnson (likely concussion) and caught a three-yard TD pass for the game-winner.
So, what can San Diego expect this Sunday when it meets the Titans, both teams looking to go 2-1 on the season?
For starters, do not figure on this contest being a shootout like the Chargers were involved in versus the Eagles. While Tennessee does have some offensive weapons, starting QB Jake Locker is a far cry from Michael Vick when it comes to spreading out opposing defenses.
In the loss to the Texans, Locker finished 17-of-30 for 148 yards (92.1 QB passer rating) and a touchdown. On the ground, Tennessee’s Chris Johnson just missed a 100-yard day, finishing with 96 yards on 25 carries.
Expect Sunday to Be More of a Defensive Battle
Defensively, the Titans were led by right linebacker Zach Brown and strong safety Bernard Pollard with 11 and eight tackles, respectively.
While anything of course is possible when the Chargers and Titans take the field Sunday, more than likely you will see something more closely resembling a defensive struggle as opposed to an up-and-down the field game.
With the San Diego game, Tennessee starts a stretch where it plays four of its next five games in Nashville. Following the Chargers, the Titans play host to the New York Jets, Kansas City, visit Seattle, then return home to meet San Francisco.
In the all-time series between the two clubs, San Diego (defeated Tennessee 38-10 in 2012) holds a 26-16-1 advantage.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.