Merry Christmas, who would have thunk it that the Titans would still be fighting for a possible playoff birth after starting the season 0-6. I for one must say, "I didn't see that coming." Today is Christmas, and the weather outside is frightful. The fireplace is perfect for an afternoon today, especially after putting together one of the waterbased or sand based basketball goals together only to see it fall over on my wife. Our sand was wet, it didn't pour well so we decided on the water. The goal is up in the garage for now at 71/2 feet. We only had to go outside in the freezing weather and wind to put on the last poll. Of course the goal was top heavy, before we put in the water. Now there is some water in the base and the sandbags, 400 lbs of it is on top of the base until the weather gets better. Of course now we are getting to my point, and that is the weather is going to have a dramatic effect on tonight's game.
If you are from Nashville you know what I am talking about. If you are reading this from some other part of the country, well the winds here are gusting to over 40 mphs. They are blowing over Bradford Pear trees and knocking over basketball goals. Yes, the kicking games and the passing games are going to be question marks and potential decision makers. Therefore that is where we need to look. Right now the oddsmakers are favoring San Diego and who would have believed that someone would think this game could be that close.
Chris Johnson is going for his tenth straight 100-yard game and at the same time still on a quest for a 2,000-yard season. This needs to be factored very favorabaly in the Titan's factor. Throwing the ball will be good for only two quarters for each team and also kicking the ball. There is also the chance that with the field getting wet that the running game hampered by some unsure footing.
Here is what I think before the game begins and I have to get on the road here before long:
San Diego averages around 3.3 yds per carry on the ground from the backfield.
Tennessee averages around 5.5 yds per carry.
San Diego game is predicated on the pass.
Tennessee's is predicated on the run and the legs of Vince Young.
Give the ground game advantage +3 to Tennessee.
Passing is the name of the game for the Chargers. Philip Rivers is odd person out for A Pro Bowl birth but that doesn't mean he is not a pro bowl calibre QB. He is approaching 4,000 yds in the air. He will get that tonight. The proble is the wind. Therefore I expect Tennessee which has had +8 turnover margin in the last three games to significantly add to that tonight. I believe SD and Rivers will throw two picks and Tennessee will return one either for a score or so close it will result in a sure TD and 7 points.
Vince Young is a 60 percent passer this season and really has come into his own in the Red Zone. Still he does not have to pass to be effective and the short outlet passes do nicely to allow Chris Johnson to either run the ball straight out or operate off the screen. The weather is so bad here that I really believe SD will be sluggish and prone to mistakes.
Passing game, I am giving Tennessee +3 here also.
Defense is hurting for the Titans. The loss of Bullock is devastating. We are really depleted at linebacker and out corner, Nick Harper is questionable. As for San Diego they will probably be without Merriman. There is bad blood between the Titans and SD and especially on the defensive front. I will give the edge to SD on this one.
Defense goes to San Diego +3
Kicking Game is going to be a draw however note that Bironas has the leg however the wind will offset. If it goes to field goal it may result in the team with the wind at their back in the 4th quarter. That of course is determined by a coin toss.
Finally there is the intangibles. Tenness is playing with more at stake. They are also playing at home and this game is on the NFL Network. Tennessee will live to go into the last week with a shot and Vince Young getting a shot at Titan Imortality. If ever one could think a QB could step up following the death of Steve McNair what better season story that to say, Tennessee Rises With the Young.
Tennessee wins this one by a TD.