The Chargers continue their playoff push Sunday against the Titans.
Both teams are 7-6 and will meet in Week 15 at SoFi Stadium. Kickoff is at 1:25 p.m. (PT).
We chatted with Jim Wyatt, who covers the Titans for their team website, to get a preview of the game.
The Titans are on a little bit of a skid right now. What's the key to getting that turned around?
JW: It starts with being able to run the football consistently. The Titans showed some promise there last week against the Jaguars, they just couldn't sustain because, in part, they fell behind. The three weeks prior to that, running the ball was a struggle. Especially against a team like the Chargers, you have to be able to establish the run early. Not only to control possession, but to keep the ball away from the Chargers offense. That's how this team is built: run the ball and then take some shots when you have to. The bread and butter is running it with Derrick Henry.
What's a reason for optimism that Tennessee find its stride soon?
JW: The last three weeks have not been pretty. But if you look at what happened before that stretch, it gives you reason to believe they can get better. This team went on a five-game winning streak earlier this season. This team won seven of eight during one stretch. Certainly they are missing some key players, but they have played well at times. They just need to find some consistency. They have been doing too many things that make it more difficult on themselves the past couple of weeks.
What kind of season has Ryan Tannehill had and where is he at right now?
JW: If you look at his numbers, he's done a good job. He is coming off a game where he turned the ball over twice — on an interception and a fumble — but it's hard to pin both those on him. It looked like there was a miscommunication on the router and the he got hit and it led to the fumble. But he's done a good job of not turning the ball over for the most part. They have not been especially good around him of late. Protection has failed him in recent weeks and they've been without Treylon Burks, their first-round pick, for a good chink of the second half of the season. They need some guys to make plays around him. Could he play better? Yes. But that probably applies to every guy on this roster.
Defensively, what challenge do the Titans expect from Justin Herbert?
JW: He's a huge challenge because this teams biggest area of weakness has been stopping the pass. Trevor Lawrence and Jalen Hurts, in back-to-back weeks, have been their conference's Offensive Players of the Week after games against the Titans. That's because they had a lot of success throwing the football. And Herbert loves to throw it. The Chargers have big receivers and dynamic playmakers all over the field. So the Chargers do exactly what the Titans have had trouble stopping. The Titans are going to have to be a lot better across the board on Sunday. If they try to get into a shootout on Sunday against the Chargers, they are going to be in trouble.
Finally, what is your expectation for how the final month goes for the Titans?
JW: This team has won back-to-back AFC South titles and is certainly in the drivers seat to win again. But the reality is that people here are not satisfied with that. The expectation here is to win the division and give yourselves a chance to play deep into January and February. Right now, the Titans don't look like a team capable of doing that. But I've seen it before, and the Titans are capable of being one of those teams, where they build momentum late in the season. They've got four games to do it, get some confidence and get healthy. The Titans are capable of finding their stride late in the year. But it's one of those deals where you can talk about it all day, and the reality is that you have to do it. That's the mission for the Titans right now.
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