Free NFL Picks: Tennessee at San Diego 10-31-2010

October 29, 2010

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Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers

October 31st, 2010 4:05 PM EST

Line: San Diego -3 1/2

Overview:

The 5-2 Tennessee Titans will travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers, who have proven to be an enigma this season. Despite being fantastic statistically, the Chargers have only obtained two victories. The Titans are in first place in the brutal AFC South, while the Chargers sulk in last place in one of the weakest divisions in football. It is hard to believe, but the Chargers are favored…again.

Keys to the Game:

  • Chris Johnson needs to eliminate the 2,500 yard goal this season. He is trying to do too much and it is showing with his decrease of big time runs. Johnson is still having an outstanding year, but he is looking for cutback lanes before he even looks to the hole he was supposed to run in. Johnson has already run for over 100 yards on four occasions this season, each resulting in a victory. It is scary to think what Johnson could do if he followed his blocks and remained patient. His blazing speed is unfathomable and impossible to replicate in practice. The Chargers faced Jamaal Charles earlier in the year, but they haven’t seen anything like Johnson yet. They have the stingiest defense in the NFL, so Johnson may find himself struggling. If he does, so will Vince Young, who relies heavily on Johnson to create breathing room for the entire offense.
  • San Diego doesn’t give up anything in the air or on the ground. They have the best pass defense and the fourth best run defense. Yards are hard to come by against the Chargers, but points are not. The Chargers allow 21.3 points a game. They are practicing the unique strategy of breaking but not bending, though I believe the opposite approach would result in more wins for the team. the Titans have a big play offense and Kenny Britt proved he can add an extra gear to the Titans.
  • Both Tennessee and San Diego both get after the quarterback. The two teams lead the league in sacks with 25 a piece. Philip Rivers is less effective against the blitz than Vince Young is, simply because Young is more mobile. young did suffer an injury that may force him to stay inside the pocket more, but both quarterbacks will be seeing the ground more often than they would like to.
  • Antonio Gates could be set up to have a monster game. When Rivers feels pressured and he needs someone to go to in a tight situation, he looks to Gates. Gates already has eight touchdowns and looks poised to break the tight end touchdown record that he set and Vernon Davis tied last year. The Titans do not have an outlet to check down to, but rather rely on the legs of Vince Young or a short dump off to Chris Johnson to  try to make something happen when pressure arrives. Vince Young was helpless against the Steelers when they brought the heat from everywhere on the field. It will be interesting to see how he responds to similar pressure this week.
  • If the Chargers keep allowing points like they have been, their top ranked passing offense will not be able to score enough points to best their opponent. While Rivers has been impressive this season, they have been forced to throw the ball in order to play catch up this year. The ground game hasn’t been at the level San Diego is accustomed to, so Rivers has taken on a bigger role. The Chargers will need to hold defensively in order to reward the Chargers for their efforts on offense.

Wrap Up:

My mind tells me the Chargers have to come away with a victory at some point, but my heart is with Tennessee. The Titans proved me wrong last week by knocking off the Eagles. They are playing in San Diego, which helps the Charger’s case, but the Titans are simply a better team. I want to pick the Chargers based on the numbers, but there is no substitute for winning.

Free NFL Pick: Tennessee +3 1/2


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