Week 2: Titans, Chargers

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Tennessee at San Diego
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 716
*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
*Keys to the game: The Titans are hopeful QB Jake Locker can return after separating his non-throwing shoulder against New England. But whether it's Locker or QB Matt Hasselbeck, the Titans desperately need RB Chris Johnson to show the resurgent form he hinted at during the preseason. Johnson managed only four yards on 11 carries in Week 1 as Tennessee fell behind early and was forced into a one-dimensional attack. Avoiding a similar deficit is paramount to keep Johnson involved in the gameplan. After facing Tom Brady, the Titans must prepare for yet another well-stocked offensive attack. San Diego has a few more holes to peck at, particularly a rookie starting at left tackle. Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley came up with a sack and a pair of quarterback hits in his first game as a Titan, and will likely command double-team attention from San Diego on most all passing downs.
*Matchup to watch - Titans RCB Alterraun Verner vs. Chargers WR Robert Meachem: It's typically not a good sign when a cornerback is second on the team in tackles, and the Titans' defense was on its heels a bit against New England. While Verner had nine tackles, the Patriots' wideouts only had nine total catches so the coverage was respectable. Meachem is charged with replacing Vincent Jackson. There's no question he possesses the vertical speed, but can he be as consistent a threat?
*Player spotlight - Titans ILB Akeem Ayers: Colin McCarthy gets most of the press, and deservedly so, but Ayers is an almost equally impressive young inside linebacker who is coming off an 11-tackle opener.
*Fast facts: If Locker starts, it will mark his first career start on the road. ... The Chargers have won the past eight meetings.
The Titans are going to have a difficult time being highly competitive until - and if - RB Chris Johnson regains his 2010 form. And with QB Jake Locker already battling an injury, it's difficult to predict Tennessee mounting an effective offense.
*Our pick: Chargers 21-16

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