Chargers vs. Titans: Discussing the Tennessee Titans' Keys to Victory

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIISeptember 14, 2012

If Ryan Mathews is at 100%, the Tennessee Titans' chances of beating the Bolts goes way down.
If Ryan Mathews is at 100%, the Tennessee Titans' chances of beating the Bolts goes way down.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers turned the fortunes of their franchise around. A Drew Brees to Reche Caldwell touchdown strike led to the implementation of the Chargers' no huddle offense, which blew away defenses during the 2004 season.

Who were the victims of that strike? The Tennessee Titans.

Now, the Titans will be looking to turn their own fortunes around by stopping San Diego's 19-year winning streak that's included eight victories for the Bolts and a 2007 playoff debacle.

At one point the Titans were among the Chargers most hated rivals, but many of those in the Titans organization that fueled the Chargers' rage are gone. No more Kevin Mawae, no more Jeff Fisher (you know it's bad when they hate the coach), no more Vince Young and no more Cortland Finnegan.

Somehow, the Chargers must find the fury to stave off a Titan's upset.

The Titans are in an early must-win game, because if they lose to the Bolts and go 0-2, guess who's coming to dinner? The Detroit Lions, and these Lions feast on the feeble. Teams with 0-3 records typically miss the playoffs.

Kenny Britt will be making an appearance, but it should be brief.

Chris Johnson will be eager to break out of his funk. His disastrous 11 attempts for four yards against the New England Patriots last week was humiliating to say the least, but it doesn't mean he's not as dangerous as he always was.

Johnson still averaged nearly five yards-per-carry last season, he's only 26 years old and he's still fast. A couple of mistakes by the Bolts and the flood gates could open.

The Titans really need to worry about stopping the run in this game. People tend to overlook the fact that Norv Turner loves to create fancy passing plays, but will never call one if the other team can't stop the run.

The Patriots' Stevan Ridley stampeded the Titans for 125 yards on 21 carries. That's six yards per carry! He had a long run of 17 yards, which means that the Titans couldn't stop anything. He carried the ball six times for 36 yards in the first quarter.

Once again, that's six yards per carry! 

Ridley averaged over seven yards per carry in the second quarter. What does this mean for San Diego? It means that they have a chance to jump on this team early if Ryan Mathews plays and is 100 percent. If he's not, they should just rest him up for next week and hope that Curtis Brinkley and company can average more than one yard per carry this week. 

At the end of the day, if Philip Rivers doesn't turn the ball over, the Titans will have a hard time traveling to San Diego and knocking the Chargers off their first place perch in the AFC West.