Tennessee Titans (3-5 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (3-5 SU, 5-3 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TEN +5/SD -5
Over/Under Total: 47
At Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the Tennessee Titans take on the San Diego Chargers in week 9 AFC action between two teams peeking in and still trying to break through. The Titans have moved their record to 4-4 on the heels of three wins in four games. For a team with five wins in the past two seasons, that counts as a victory and they look to take it up another notch with a good road win this week. San Diego will be eager to make up for a difficult week where they fell to the Broncos at home on Sunday, 27-19. The Chargers had won two in a row and look to resume that momentum at home.
Tennessee handled the Jaguars with greater ease than last Thursdays 36-22 score indicates. They were in firm control throughout with a 27-0 halftime lead. You have to make the extra consideration with the Titans and their route to this point. It wasnt easy, with a lot of knocks along the way. But after years of hard work with the coaches and players, things are starting to click. They have a good young quarterback with diverse skills in Marcus Mariota. He was 18-for-22 on Thursday with 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hes becoming a more mature presence and continues to improve. He can move with his legs and make plays, while his aerial decision-making has gotten more on-point.
Mariota is getting a big boost from first-year Titans back DeMarco Murray, who is leading the way with big rushing numbers, while catching a ton of balls along the way. Murray hurt his toe on Sunday and is listed as day-to-day, which is a concern with him being such a big part of the defense. Mariota is also handy with his legs, as is last years Heisman winner Derrick Henry, who has flashed some impressive potential this season. Through the air, Mariota works with dependable tight end Delanie Walker, with rising receiver talent like Tajae Sharpe, Rishard Matthews, and others. But the run is what the Titans rely on, with the passing-game often fairly tepid. In recent games, weve seen the Titans point-totals spike, with an average of 30 or more points in their last four games. Theyre starting to position themselves for a nice run in what is shaping up to be a wide-open AFC South.
Key to the Titans success this season thus far has been their defense. Its hard not to like what is being seen up-front, with the Titans stuffing the run and applying a consistent pass-rush. Theyve been consistently keeping opponents in the teens and twenties when it comes to scoring and with a burgeoning offense, thats going to have the Titans in a lot of games this season, as it has through half a season this year.
The Chargers came up on the wrong side of it on Sunday, but they ended up splitting the series with Denver, which isnt all that bad. After two straight wins, it would have been nice if they had chopped away more at their bad start. Still, the loss might not end up being that bad of a setback in the big picture. Granted, they were given ample chances to go for the win, with the Denver D eventually holding the Chargers down sufficiently for the win. With the Chargers, one must look beyond the record. Theyve been in each and every game and should have won most of them. They didnt. Thats the bottom-line in a results-driven business. But theyre at least a 3-5 team with a twist.
If one can look beyond the late-game collapses, which is difficult, there are a lot of positive signs for a team that hasnt caught a ton of breaks. The injury bug cost the Chargers a big chunk of their offensive production early in the season. Philip Rivers has made the most of what he has. Melvin Gordon has become a legitimate contributor and was over 100 against Denver on Sunday. Injuries have allowed guys like Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams to get a shot and they havent disappointed. Antonio Gates still factors into the equation, with Hunter Henry giving the Chargers another option at tight end. Rivers was hung out to dry by his receivers and line on Sunday and as a result, couldnt really hone in the way he likes.
On defense, the Chargers are also dealing with a vast number of injuries, with as many projected starters on the injured list as there are on the active roster. Still, its as promising a unit as weve seen in recent seasons out of San Diego. Injuries have ensured they will only be so good, but theyve been getting standout play from Melvin Ingram, Brandon Mebane, rookie Joey Bosa, Denzel Perryman, Corey Liuget, Jatavis Brown, and Casey Hayward, who had a pick-six on Sunday. The secondary will get Brandon Flowers back, as he resurfaced on Sunday. Bosa has given the line a big boost immediately upon getting on the field.
The Chargers have shown some resilience in getting to this spot even at 3-5. They can be pretty tough at home and though Tennessee is coming off the long week, this isnt an easy cross-country road spot for them. In a lot of ways, the Chargers match up well against the Titans. Its not hard envisioning Mariota catching more than his fair share of problems from the SD defense. But the Chargers are somehow more appealing as an underdog and not needing to cover a number against a team on the rise. Were taking the Titans.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Tennessee Titans plus 5 points.
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