Nashville, TN (CBSLA)- The Los Angeles Chargers meet the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sunday in a battle of teams mired in similarly disappointing five-game stretches.
Each team has lost four of their last five games and furthermore, enter on two-game losing streaks. They also have identical records of 2-4 on the season. CBS Local’s Katie Johnston sees this as a “coin flip matchup, because neither team really looks great.”
How each team got to this point is a little bit different. For the Chargers, injuries have been the main concern once again, with star players like Derwin James, Maurkice Pouncey and Russell Okung all missing either for the season or a significant portion of it. For the Titans, inconsistent play from Marcus Mariota combined with a porous offensive line (29 sacks, 47 QB hits) has led them to this point.
Mariota will be replaced this weekend by former Miami Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill, as the team looks to spark the offense. For the Chargers, they got tight end Hunter Henry back last week looking like his old self, which helps. But it isn’t a matter of weapons for the team, it’s the offensive line.
“Philip Rivers is a good quarterback, but he doesn’t have the manpower right now on the offensive line. I think you could see some messy plays where Rivers is forced out of the pocket,” said Johnston. “It is really frustrating, I’m sure, for Chargers fans to see that, because you have powerhouse playmakers in Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler who can’t play up to their potential.”
The Chargers line, to this point, ranks in the middle of the pack, having given up 12 sacks and 32 quarterback hits. But, they face a Titans defense this week that has tied for sixth in the league in sacks generated so far with 18. They have posted the eighth-best adjusted sack rate of any team in the league, according to Football Outsiders. That lends itself to some of that pressure that Johnston alluded too, making finding those weapons on the outside more difficult.
It is that likelihood of pressure, and the resulting effects, that have Johnston thinking the Titans will take home the victory.
“If this team can fix the issues for the front five, I think they would be in a better position to improve their record. Titans take this one,” said Johnston.
The Titans are two-point favorites entering the game with kickoff from Nissan Stadium set for 1:05 p.m. Pacific Time.