Sometimes styles make fights. Other times, the injury report does. It’s the second one in Chargers vs. Titans. The Los Angeles Chargers will be heading into this weekend’s Titans game with some of their most important players banged up. Joey Bosa, Austin Ekeler, and Eric Kendricks have all missed practice time due to injury. The latter two are listed as ‘doubtful’ for the game and Bosa is ‘questionable.’ Making the matchups to watch, more like the backups to watch.
3 Matchups to Watch in Chargers vs. Titans
Joshua Kelley vs. Titans Linebackers
In Week 1 Joshua Kelley had the best game of his career, rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown. His 5.7 yards per carry were ninth in the league among qualified running backs. But this week he will face a Titans team that allowed just 69 yards on the ground last week. That was fifth fifth-best last week. A lot of that had to do with how their linebackers were flying to the ball. Pete Werner totaled 8 tackles and Demario Davis had 10.
With Ekeler doubtful to play, Kelley and, rookie, Elijah Dotson will carry the load. What will be harder for them to replicate is Ekeler’s ability in the passing game. Kelley was targeted just one-time last week.
The Titans only handed the ball to Derrick Henry 15 times last week. Henry had 20 or more carried 10 times in 16 games last season. With Eric Kendricks out, it may be a different story this week. Kenneth Murray will be the one the Chargers will look to to stop Henry. Which is a less-than-ideal position for the Chargers. Last season Murray had the lowest PFF run defense score of all Chargers. Which is saying something. The Chargers finished last year with the third-worst PFF run defense score in the league.
To make matters worse, the linebacking room has been bitten with the injury bug. In addition to Bosa, both Daiyan Henley and Chris Rumph are listed as doubtful.
Chargers Pass Rush vs. Titans Offensive Line
Last week the Chargers managed 5 pressures per Pro Football Reference. That’s about $7 million per pressure. Luckily they are playing against one of the worst offensive lines in the league. And it isn’t as if this Tennessee offense and Ryan Tannehill are going to carve up a defense like Mike McDaniel. This is more of a ‘proof-of-life’ situation. The Chargers are paying a lot for their defense, particularly the edge rushers. This is a game the Chargers should dominate in this aspect and, if Derrick Henry gets going, it may be the thing that stands in the way of an 0-2 start.
The other name to watch if Bosa is out or limited is Tuli Tuipulotu