A pair of teams that have been disappointments thus far this season square off on Sunday afternoon when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Tennessee Titans. Los Angeles was a playoff team a season ago and looked like one heading into this season, but the Chargers come into this contest having lost four of their last five, with the only win coming against Miami.
Tennessee looked much improved in Week 1 of this season when it dismantled a highly-touted Cleveland Browns squad on the road. But the Titans have won just once since then, scoring a total of seven points in their last two games, which has prompted a quarterback change by coach Mike Vrabel.
The moneyline for this contest has the Los Angeles Chargers +120 and the Tennessee Titans -140. Tennessee is a 2.5-point favorite at home, while the over/under for the game has been set at 41.
Los Angeles has dealt with injuries and the holdout of running back Melvin Gordon early this season, but the injuries are healing, and Gordon is now back with the team. Gordon has just 49 yards rushing since returning to the team two games ago, but as he rounds into form, so should the Chargers’ running game. One constant for the team has been quarterback Philip Rivers, who has thrown for 1,785 yards and nine touchdowns this season, but the 37-year-old has also taken 12 sacks this season. Rivers will try to get Keenan Allen (40 receptions, 503 yards, three scores) and Hunter Henry (12 catches, 160 yards, two TDs) going against a stout Titans pass defense.
Defensively, the Chargers are allowing just 19.7 points per game and rank seventh in the league, allowing just 321.7 yards of total offense. Turnovers have been a problem, as Los Angeles has notched just seven this season. Defensive end Joey Bosa leads the Chargers with three sacks and six tackles for loss, while cornerback Desmond King is right behind him with 2.5 and 3.5, respectively. Linebacker Thomas Davis has been good in his first season with the team, leading the team with 48 tackles.
Making A Change
Marcus Mariota had started every game under center this season, but Vrabel is going with Ryan Tannehill in this one after the Titans have scored just one touchdown over the last 10 quarters. Tannehill came in against Denver and completed 13 of 16 for 144 yards and an interception, but he’ll need to go downfield more often against the Chargers. Derrick Henry leads the Titans with 416 yards rushing, but he’s reached the 100-yard mark just once this season, a 100-yard effort in a win over Atlanta.
The Titans have been solid with their pass rush, recording 18 sacks through six games, and they could get a boost with the activation of first-round pick Jeffery Simmons. The defensive lineman has been out since suffering a torn ACL in February, dropping him from a possible top-five pick to the Titans’ selection at No. 19. He’ll join linebacker Harold Landry III (four sacks) and cornerback Logan Ryan (2.5 sacks) in trying to pressure Rivers.
Chargers Get Road Win
While Los Angeles is just getting its main offensive pieces back in place, Tennessee is switching things around, which will make it hard for them to put together a consistent attack. The Chargers have too much talent to be where they’re at, and they’ll be motivated by the fact that Kansas City is without Patrick Mahomes with a little while, making a run at a division title more plausible. I’m taking Los Angeles +2.5 to win this one outright.