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VOL. 40 | NO. 45 | Friday, November 4, 2016

Titans at Chargers: What to watch

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Beat the Whiz: Ken Whisenhunt, who was terrible in his one and a-half years as Titans head coach, has returned to the Chargers as offensive coordinator, and probably would like nothing better than to stick it to the organization that fired him (albeit with a nice parting gift of the balance of his $20 million salary).

Is there an advantage of any sort here? The Titans could have a slight edge in having run Whisenhunt’s offense and knowing his play-call tendencies. Let’s see if they can take advantage.

End the misery: OK, if the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians can reach the World Series, why can’t the Titans snap their San Diego jinx?

The Titans have not won in Qualcomm Stadium since 1990, and had not beaten the Chargers at all until a 2013 win at home, ended a nine-game overall skid to the Lightning Bolts.

Keep pounding: The Titans have found their identity in a form of power football, featuring a strong and rebuilt offensive line and the rushing of DeMarco Murray. Murray is rejuvenated as well, having run for 756 yards in half a season with the Titans, eclipsing his season numbers in Philadelphia a year ago already.

Murray is second in the NFL currently, and his offensive line would love to get him a second rushing title to go with the one he earned in 2014 with the Cowboys.

Play 60: The Chargers have let some fourth-quarter leads get away from them this season, something the Titans have also been guilty of. If the Titans can hang in, weather whatever storms might come from the Chargers, they have a chance to pull this out in the fourth quarter, given San Diego’s inconsistencies late in ballgames.

Matchups to watch

Taylor Lewan vs. Joey Bosa

OK, this is not just Michigan vs. Ohio State. This is one of the young star pass rushers in the NFL in former Buckeye Bosa, who is already earning rave reviews just a few games into his NFL career.

Lewan, who has graded out very well at left tackle, will be the man charged with keeping Bosa away from QB Marcus Mariota.

Sean Spence vs. Antonio Gates

There may well be a number of different guys assigned to cover Gates, depending upon the package, the route and the play call. But Spence, who is the Titans’ inside linebackers in the nickel package, probably draws Gates at least some of the time in sub-packages. How well he can contain the veteran could be key as to whether the Titans can slow down the future Hall of Famer.

Dexter McCluster vs. Titans special teams

McCluster, let go by the Titans in final cuts, hooked on with the Chargers a few weeks ago and now is handling returns for them. The Titans special teams units have struggled at times, and McCluster would like nothing better than to add to their misery.

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