Back Titans Seek Some Pep on Offense Against Chargers
Alan Penny 2013-09-20 in NFL Picks
The Tennessee Titans could really use some better work out of their quarterback, which is exactly what the San Diego Chargers have been getting. These two teams are set to clash on Sunday at 1 PM ET at LP Field in Nashville.
Both of these teams are currently 1-1 on the season.
Here are the pro football lines as they have been listed at Bovada:
Tennessee Titans -3 -115
San Diego Chargers +3 -105
And here is the NFL total for the game:
Over 43.5 Points -110
Under 43.5 Points -110
Talk about your transitions from day to night – the San Diego Chargers had to deal with the frenetic pace of the Philadelphia Eagles last week, and indeed the Eagles’ offensive unit made the most of its time on the field, running up 511 yards in less than twenty minutes of possession. Now they encounter a Tennessee team that indeed has a mobile quarterback in Jake Locker but not much firepower through the air. Locker was a playmaker at the University of Washington, but there has been a bit of an experiment with him in Nashville.
There have always been some questions about this arm, and he hasn’t done a heck of a lot to dissuade those doubters, with an average of 5.5 yards an attempt and some difficulty figuring out enemy defensive alignments. Under Locker, the Titans (-160 in this week’s money line at Bovada) converted just four of 16 third-downs last week against Houston.
Granted, this is where Chris Johnson could step in and assume a critical role, but Johnson, among a select group of running backs who have reached 2000 yards in a single season, has really labored for the 166 yards he’s gained, as he has averaged just 3.3 yards a carry. Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard and now the Tennessee head coach, took steps to upgrade the offensive line and now it has to pay off some dividends.
You’d really have to point to the Titan defense as an area of improvement in the early going, at it has held the opposition to just 33% on third down and chalked up seven sacks. Remember that the 2012 edition of the team gave up more points than any other in franchise history. Despite that, they were still not able to keep the Texans’ running game under wraps last weekend (28 carries, 172 yards).
San Diego’s new head coach, Mike McCoy, has gotten an exciting introduction to his job, as the Chargers (+140 in the money line at Bovada) have been in two nail-biters. The opener was very frustrating, as they blew a 28-7 lead and lost 31-28 on a last-second field goal. Then last Sunday they were back and forth with Philadelphia, losing a ten-point lead twice, before prevailing 33-30 on, yes, a last-second field goal.
Unlike Locker, Philip Rivers has been producing. He threw for 419 yards on 36 of 47 passing against the Eagles, and in two games he has seven TD’s, only one interception and eight yards an attempt. Maybe he’s revived under McCoy, a former quarterback, and that was just the intention.
Malcom Floyd, normally San Diego’s top pass catcher, is going to be out indefinitely after taking a nasty hit and suffering a scary neck injury against Philadelphia. But the fortunate thing is that Eddie Royal is setting the house on fire. The former Denver Bronco has ten catches this season, FIVE of them for touchdowns. Antonio Gates also has ten catches, for a 17-yard average, and Danny Woodhead has ten receptions as well.
In other words, Rivers is spreading the ball around pretty well, and when Floyd comes back to action (which could be in a few weeks) this could look like a very formidable arsenal. Keep in mind that Ken Whisenhunt, the former Arizona coach, who took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, was hired by McCoy to be the offensive coordinator, and he has always been a well-respected assistant.
The Chargers would probably love to get Tennessee into a situation where Locker has to trade points. Without a number of frightening wide receiver threats (we’ll see how Kenny Britt works out here) and with Johnson fighting for inches, it may be a struggle for the Titans to get into a slugging contest.