Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers
Time: 3:25 PM (CT), CBS
Spread: SD -3.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Tennessee Titans have been one of the pleasant surprises of the 2016 NFL Season. Tennessee is 4-4 and in second place in the AFC South, and last week the Titans knocked off Jacksonville 36-22. The Titans now face the San Diego Chargers at 3:25 PM (Central) on CBS, and the Chargers are 3.5 point favorites in the game with an over/under set at 47.5 according to NFL oddsmakers at 5dimes.
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Behind the turnaround in Nashville is none other than No. 2 overall pick, second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota of Oregon. Last week he threw 18 of 22 for 270 yards and two TDs, while the backfield was also very successful. DeMarco Murray rushed for 123 yards on 21 carries with a TD and Derrick Henry had 60 yards and a TD, as well.
The Titans led 27-0 at the half in a game that never appeared to be in question. Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker combined for eight catches and totaled 159 yards, with Wright pulling a 36-yard play and Walker a 47-yarder. Mariota can move the ball down the field.
Mariota has thrown for 1,874 yards this season and is averaging 224.3 yards per game. He has completed 63.3 percent of his passes with 14 TDs and six INTs. Murray has rushed for 756 yards with six TDs and 38 first downs. The Titans, between that pair, have crafted a much more effective offense which averages 22.8 points per game and ranks middle of the pack.
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Defensively, the Titans have got enough help to hold opponents to 22.9, giving them a nearly even point differential. The rush attack has been Tennessee’s bread and butter, but mostly because Mariota needs a few more explosive weapons at WR. The Titans rank just No. 26 in pass yardage despite Mariota’s efficiency and overall improvement. Nevertheless, the future is bright for the Titans, which was hard to say after last season’s 2-win debacle.
The San Diego Chargers are 3-5 on the season but sport a 2-1 mark at home where they host the Titans today. San Diego lost last week 27-19 to the Denver Broncos after having won back-to-back prior to that against the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. The Chargers sit in last place in the AFC West, with Oakland and Denver fighting it out atop the division both at 6-2. San Diego will likely miss the postseason this year, and its poor defense has plenty to do with it.
San Diego ranks No. 3 in scoring (27.9 points per game), but the Chargers are giving up 26.5 points per game (No. 24). The Chargers do their damage with the arm of Philip Rivers, who is having another excellent season despite the team’s overall failures. Rivers has 2,285 yards while throwing for 7.8 yards per attempt with a 62.3 percent completion ratio.
Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin have both caught for over 500 yards and have 70 catches between them, as well as 42 first downs. Williams already has caught 10 passes for 20-yards or more, and the Chargers have 15 receiving TDs on the year.
Worth noting is that both Williams and Benjamin are injured, but both are expected to play, as well. Benjamin suffered a grade-2 sprain in his PCL (knee), and Williams is struggling with knee issues too. The Chargers need them both at full strength though, with the pair comprising so much of its offensive attack.
The Chargers rush attack has lingered behind, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry with leading rusher Melvin Gordon good for only 3.6 per attempt. Rivers has attempted just six rushes for 19 yards. The Chargers are struggling to diversify their offense, but having no trouble scoring, so perhaps adding a premier back is not at the top of their list. Not with the way the defense has struggled.
This game has the potential to be a pretty high scoring (relative to the NFL) affair, with both teams offering far more on the offensive end of the football. Though the 47.5 point total is already set relatively high, bettors will be wise to consider the ‘over’ with the respective defensive failures of these two clubs.