It took till the final game of the season for the Tennessee Titans to make it to the 2007 NFL Playoffs, but they are here, and they plan on putting up a fight on Sunday vs the San Diego Chargers. The Titans are a big 9.5 point underdog, and will have to fight without some key players on offense, including having Vince Young it seems well less than 100 percent. With that, here are five keys that the Titans need to beat the Chargers Sunday:
1. Stick Around Early – Yeah, pretty easy to say, but for the Titans, is it going to be easy to do? Tennessee has not played well at all in their last three trips to San Diego, as last season before they started their run they got blown out by the Chargers. Now they have to chance for a fresh start, but if they get behind early, they are going to have a long day. The Titans play pretty much every game close and then use their physical play to pull it out in the end. If they are down 10-14 points early, this won’t be an issue.
2. Control the Line of Scrimmage – In the first meeting the Titans ran the ball well, with LenDale White going for 133 on the ground. They are going to need that and likely more out of the running game Sunday. On offense they have to play their game, which is to run inside the tackles and gain 3-4 yards on first down to avoid 2nd and 3rd and long. On defense, they stopped LaDainian Tomlinson pretty well for three quarters in the first meeting, but then fell down in the 4th quarter. In a close game, they have to keep LT in check to avoid Phillip Rivers going off.
3. Pressure Rivers Into a Few Mistakes – The last time they played Kyle Vanden Bosch had three sacks, and now with he and Albert Haynesworth both back on the line, this unit will be called upon to make plays against Rivers when he goes back to pass. If they can get Rivers into some poor decisions, and maybe even a turnover or two, they can make this game a lot closer than the Chargers would like it to be.
4. Pull Young if He’s Struggling – I realize like everyone else that Vince Young is the QB of the future for the Titans, but let’s be real here – he’s not had a good year. He is not 100 percent, and Kerry Collins may very well be the best chance for the Titans to win this game. Young’s strength is his mobility, and if that quad is acting up enough for him to not be able to move, then it’s up to Jeff Fisher to do the right thing and give the ball to Collins.
5. Avoid Silly Mistakes – They needed all they had to beat the second-string Colts on Sunday, and part of that was because they put the ball on the turf and had stupid penalties. That type of play will not work against the Chargers. While avoiding turnovers will be ultra-important, they also have to make sure to not get yellow hankies thrown on them in critical times of the contest.