Found September 19, 2013 on Sports Report SoCal:
A few weeks ago, no one would have pegged the San Diego Chargers vs. the Tennessee Titans as a particularly interesting affair.  After an impressive opening couple of games for the Titans and a resurgent Week 2 from the Chargers, Sunday’s game all of a sudden carries a fair amount of intrigue, and has experts torn over who will emerge victorious. The Titans kicked off 2013 with an impressive win over an admittedly hapless Steelers team and followed up that performance with an remarkable performance against the Texans, coming up just short in overtime of knocking off the AFC South favorites.  After blowing a 21-point second-half lead to those same Texans in Week 1, Philip Rivers and the Bolts redeemed themselves with a 31-28 victory over Chip Kelly’s run-and-gun Eagles last weekend. It will be interesting to see in which direction these two teams head from here on.  For their part, experts around the country are torn over who will come out on top.  This game could go a lot of ways and with Chris Johnson on the other side, he could at any moment get rolling and that Titans defense could continue to play out of their minds.  Look for Tennessee to dial up some pressure late in the ball game. The key to victory for the Bolts is going to be a combination of Philip Rivers, Eddie Royal, Ryan Matthews and Antonio Gates.  Head Coach Mike McCoy has wasted little time in helping Philip Rivers return to an elite level, while also turning Eddie Royal into the top scoring receiver in the NFL.  The high-scoring attack will try to carry San Diego to its 10th straight win over the Tennessee franchise.  After serving as coordinator for Denver teams that went to the playoffs with Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning running his offense the past two years, McCoy has brought out the best in Rivers through two games as San Diego’s head coach.  While Royal may have seen the end zone more than anyone else on the team, tight end Antonio Gates has been Rivers’ favorite weapon overall.  Gates also has 10 catches with 173 yards on the season, who is seeing a big resurgence this season.  The run game ranks sixth in the league behind Ryan Matthews’ 29 carries for 106 yards. Rivers went 36 of 47 for 419 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in a 33-30 win at Philadelphia on Sunday, earning AFC player of the week honors.  He’s tied for second in the league with seven touchdown passes, is fourth with a 115.8 passer rating and eighth with a 65.8 completion percentage.  This is outstanding compared to Rivers’ previous years where he posted ratings of 88.6 and 88.7 in the last two seasons, throwing 35 interceptions. “He’s a great player and one of the smarter guys I’ve been around,” wideout Keenan Allen said.  “He can read coverages and change calls at the line of scrimmage.  He’s really great to play with.”  Rivers has also played a key role in his team’s success against the Titans.  He’s completed 68.5 percent for 268.0 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions while winning all six meetings, including playoffs.  Rivers went 24 for 32 for 284 yards with three scores and one pick in a 38-10 home win over Tennessee last Sept. 16.  Royal has emerged as the top playmaker in McCoy’s fast-paced offense with an NFL-best five touchdown receptions.  He had seven catches for 90 yards and three scores against the Eagles.  The Chargers, who rank among the league leaders with 30.5 points and 401.0 yards per game, will try to keep rolling against the Titans. After failing to hold an eight-point lead with less than five minutes left in a 30-24 overtime loss at Houston on Sunday, Tennessee hopes to bounce back as its begins a three-game stretch at home.  The Chargers, who have allowed an NFL-high 375.5 passing yards per game, might get some help on defense with rookie linebacker Manti Te’o looking to return this week.  Te’o, a second-round pick, has been sidelined with a sprained right foot since being hurt in a preseason game.  San Diego hasn’t lost to the Titans franchise, including postseason, since Sept. 27, 1992. These are two talented teams who have a history of inconsistency but both teams are getting better quarterback play than anyone ever expected; it wouldn’t surprise me to see either team win this game.  Even though, the Titans defense has been stout, the Chargers passing game is for real and Rivers is on a mission to keep it rolling.  I’m not saying I am fully invested in Rivers – at least yet – but I believe he’ll make enough plays to give San Diego their second road win in as many weeks. Official Prediction:  Chargers 24, Titans 20   Stay in touch with the most passionate staff in the business by following us via Twitter @fballandfutbol.  You can also follow JA Dukes at @TheJADUKES.   Follow me on Twitter @TheJADUKES https://twitter.com/TheJADUKES
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