A playoff spot is still very much on the table for the LA Chargers as they enter Week 15 with a 7-6 record. They host the fellow 7-6 Tennessee Titans at SoFi after an emotional victory over a solid Miami Dolphins team. So even though this week’s game will likely be another do-or-die affair, the Bolts are heading into a tough matchup with a lot of confidence.
Week 14’s victory over the Dolphins proved that this Chargers team is a force to be reckoned with when all of their pieces on offense are together... or at least when Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are on the field at the same time.
Justin Herbert had his best game of the year throwing for 367 yards and a touchdown while completing close to 77% of his throws. Even Brandon Staley’s defense played one of its stronger games of the season limiting Tua Tagovailoa to just 145 passing yards and a 24.5 QBR.
We should all be very happy with last Sunday’s performance. A weight should be lifted off our shoulders for the time being. But at the same time, A LOT went our way and we cannot lose focus now facing another tough opponent in the Titans.
Tua was bad. Tyreek Hill got his two miracle scores but was otherwise shut down. Defensively, the Dolphins had nothing for the Bolts outside of a pass rush thanks to the banged-up offensive line. And perhaps most importantly, LA faced one of the few teams on our schedule that cannot run the football.
What Chargers fans should expect against the Titans in Week 15:
This time around, however, the Bolts have a Titans run game led by Derrick Henry that’s averaging 121.2 rushing yards a game. Not as dominant as in years past as the Titans' run game has fallen towards the middle of the pack in recent weeks.
But considering the Bolts are allowing 147 rushing yards a game and now we’re drawing one of the best running backs of this generation with the Titans being banged up in the passing game, I for one am not putting it past Tennessee to destroy LA on the ground.
Treylon Burks and Dontrell Hilliard were listed as out for this game. Ryan Tannehill and the Titans' offense has struggled to throw the ball in recent weeks. If I were Mike Vrabel, I’d be going to Derrick Henry incessantly in this matchup against such a bad run defense the Chargers have.
So, the Chargers will have to deal with that and either finally put a stop to the run-stoppage woes or allow the Titans to run roughshod and outgun them anyway.
Another thing the team is going to have to deal with is Tennessee’s pass rush. Denico Autry was also ruled out, but this Titans pass rush led by Jeffery Simmons (who was limited in practice on Friday) this season has managed to tally 33 sacks on the season; up until recent weeks, it was one of the top units at creating pressure in the league for a large portion of the season.
Like their running game, I am not buying the notion that the Titans have become completely ineffective in the area of their pass rush, especially considering our entire O-line has been banged up for the better part of the season and now we’re starting to see Justin Herbert get sacked more often.
The Chargers have gone from a team that allowed the fewest sacks in football to middle of the pack as Justin has been officially dropped 18 times in the last four games.
So, this Sunday we should expect a brutal run game at the hands of Derrick Henry as well as an underrated pass rush led by Jeffery Simmons to deal with. I think the Bolts can scrape by and get another victory, but I imagine it will not be as clean as the Dolphins' victory was.
I maintain this is a must-win game. If LA cannot prevail, we’re probably going to have to deal with Herbert haters for another year saying he can’t win or get to the playoffs.