Chargers vs Titans Preview: How LA Can Keep Their Playoff Hopes Alive

Every week is a must win game if the Chargers expect to make the playoffs. This time it's the Titans. A look at how the Chargers can walk away with a win.

LA Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert Photo Credit: Ty Nowell | Los Angeles Chargers
LA Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert Photo Credit: Ty Nowell | Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers put on a clinic against the Dolphins in primetime. Justin Herbert proved who was the better quarterback and has another tough matchup ahead of him. This like many recent games is a must-win for the Chargers’ playoff hopes. Let’s review matchups’ keys to win and some stats as the Bolts try to defend Sofi from the physical Titans.

Matchups To Watch

Run Defense vs Derrick Henry

The Chargers run defense has been beaten senseless all year and I don’t think they’ll improve much against Tennessee. Derrick Henry hasn’t put up the monster games that we’re used to from him this year but he’s still a top 5 running back this season. The Chargers did a good job of containing the Shanahan/McDaniels zone run scheme against the Dolphins. The interior of the offensive line is not the greatest so stacking the boxes would be a good idea on defense. Especially because there’s no big threat in the receiving game.

Titans WRs vs Secondary

The Titans’ passing game this year hasn’t lived up to expectations after investing in Treylon Burks and LA favorite Robert Woods. Tennessee is in the bottom five in the league in terms of yards to their receivers and as we’ll cover later, Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been great at throwing the ball. If the secondary can hold Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill to under 100 yards I don’t see why they would have a problem against this group.

Keys to Win

Make Tannehill Throw the Ball

The Titans have attempted to throw the ball the 3rd fewest in the entire NFL and for a good reason. When you’ve got Derrick Henry, there’s no reason why you should put the game in Tannehill’s hands. He is averaging game-manager numbers at quarterback, nothing too flashy ranking 19th in completion percentage. This weakness is exactly what the Bolts should exploit, their inefficiency in the passing game. There’s a lack of talent when it comes to receiving options on this team, which is something the defense can exploit.

Rely on the Team’s Strengths

The Chargers aren’t great at running the ball, and Tennessee has a great run defense. I think you might be able to see where I’m going with this one. If Lombardi can take advantage of his offense being somewhat healthy, I would expect to see another 50+ passing attempt night out of Herbert.

The Titans’ secondary has been hurt for the majority of the season. This season, they have only played a portion of one game with all five defensive back starters. The Jaguars ran their offense through Evan Engram to win so I think the Chargers’ skill position players have a good game to look forward to.

Stats to Know

The Chargers are allowing the most rushing yards per attempt in the league at 5.4, higher that any yards per attempt of any running back on their roster

Derrick Henry has more receiving yards this year than the last two seasons combined

Herbert has thrown for more than 330 yards in each of the last two weeks

The Titans’ secondary is one of the worst in the NFL allowing 283.7 yards per game.

LA Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert Photo Credit: Ty Nowell | Los Angeles Chargers
LA Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert Photo Credit: Ty Nowell | Los Angeles Chargers