Titans vs. Chargers: Spread Info, Line and Predictions

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIISeptember 14, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 01:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers yells out instructions at the line of scrimmage during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on January 1, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Week 1 welcomed a return to form from San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers, while the Tennessee Titans struggled in breaking in their new franchise signal-caller.

Jake Locker's status was questionable earlier in the week, but he practiced Thursday, and will suit up for his first start on the road when the Titans travel to the West Coast. It may be yet another tough outing for the 2011 No. 8 overall pick, who may be without top receiving targets Kenny Britt and Nate Washington.

Here is a breakdown of all that you need to know in this late-afternoon AFC clash, including a final score prediction at the end.

Current Betting Line (via OddsShark):

Over/under: 43

Spread: San Diego (-6)

Money Line: Tennessee (+220), San Diego (-260)


What's at stake

For the Bolts, it looks like former Colts legend Peyton Manning still has plenty left in the tank after his performance against Pittsburgh on Sunday night. They must keep pace with the Denver Broncos in the AFC West by getting off to a 2-0 start.

As for the Titans, they were blown off the field in their home opener, and starting the season 0-2 will be an uphill climb to a hopeful wild-card spot. They simply aren't winning the South over the Houston Texans, and there were multiple teams in each AFC division who looked better than Tennessee to begin 2012.

Football is about momentum, and getting into the winning habit.

The Chargers aren't used to winning early and often under head coach Norv Turner, and the Titans must notch a victory to avoid near certainty of missing the playoffs.


Injury Report (via ESPN)


WR Kenny Britt (knee): Questionable

WR Nate Washington (leg contusion): Questionable

RB Javon Ringer (elbow infection): Out

LB Colin McCarthy (ankle): Questionable

DT Sen'Derrick Marks (knee): Questionable



RB Ryan Mathews (clavicle): Questionable

TE Antonio Gates (ribs): Questionable

OT Jared Gaither (back): Out

WR Richard Goodman (concussion): Questionable

DT Antonio Garay (ankle): Questionable

CB Quentin Jammer (thumb): Questionable

CB Shareece Wright (foot): Out


Key Matchup:

Both teams struggled mightily to run the ball in their respective openers, gaining a combined 52 yards on 36 carries. The Titans must pound the rock and control the clock to have any chance in this one.

11th Hour Fantasy Advice: Sit QB Jake Locker

Although he didn't play terribly in his first NFL start, the Titans will be counting on Locker to make plays with both his arms and his feet. If he can't get more help from Chris Johnson in the running game, it may be tough sledding in San Diego.

It's hard enough not having a dynamic target like Britt in the lineup, but losing Washington would be a huge blow, as he was a 1,000-yard receiver in 2011.

This week's opponent isn't quite Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, but the Titans' defense looked lost in getting lit up on their home field. Rivers is an elite quarterback, and will expose the Tennessee secondary if they don't step up their play.

Locker will likely be in for a shootout, but it's unlikely he will rise to the occasion without more support.


Prediction: Chargers 31, Titans 21

By himself, Locker can't provide enough offense, and will be forced to take shots down the field playing from behind. That will result in some tight throws and multiple interceptions.

Meanwhile, Rivers and Co. will utilize an improved running game to open up their aggressive, vertical style, and the Pro Bowl QB will continue to take better care of the football than he did during last year's disappointing 20-pick campaign.