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):
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
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.