The Tennessee Titans (3-3) and the Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) are traveling across the pond to face-off in a key AFC matchup. The Chargers sit just one game back of the Kansas City Chiefs and are looking to cement themselves as contenders. Tennessee is currently tied for the lead in the AFC South. However, with the Texans and Jaguars facing off this weekend, the Titans will need to win to keep it that way.
Time: 9:30 am ET
Place: Wembley Stadium, London, England
TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, and Bruce Arians
Offensive Player to Watch: HB Derrick Henry
Henry was expected to take the next step this season with Demarco Murray gone. Even with shifty Dion Lewis in the mix, the Titans were looking to lean on Henry for 20 touches a game. So far he is averaging around 13 touches a game and has not done much with them. He has no touchdowns and has yet to rush for more than 60 yards in a game. If the Titans are going to start winning they need to establish the run game. Marcus Mariota needs defenses to respect the run and the way Henry has played, no one is. A good game from Henry Sunday morning would give a lot of confidence to this offense heading into the bye week and possibly a win.
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Defensive Player to Watch: CB Malcolm Butler
Speaking of disappointing starts, Butler has been the only weak link in the Tennessee secondary early in the season. Adoree Jackson has two interceptions and has played well on the outside. Logan Ryan is comfortable playing inside and has been impressive on opposing slot receivers. Kevin Byard is continuing to play well at safety and had a big interception, and Kenny Vacarro may be returning to play next to him.
However, it seems like there is at least one play every game where Titans fans ask, why are we paying Malcolm Butler so much money? He was brought to Nashville to be the number one corner the Titans have been missing. Butler will most likely see a lot of Keenan Allen. If Tennessee wants to get back above .500, he will need to limit Allen and not let him make any big plays.
Matchup to Watch: Titans’ Young Linebackers vs. Melvin Gordon
Gordon isn’t getting as much attention as the other first-round running back selected in 2015, Todd Gurley. However, he has been impressive and vital to this Chargers offense. Gordon has close to 750 yards from scrimmage and 9 touchdowns in his first six games. It will be important for the Titans to shut him down in order to win.
The Titans run defense hasn’t been as stout as they have been in previous years. Jurrell Casey has been fantastic, but the inside linebacker play has been inconsistent against the run. Tennessee will be getting Wesley Woodyard back Sunday which should improve the unit. However, Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans will both get a good amount of snaps. Brown has shown his worth as a second-year player, while Evans hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing in his first few games. Both will have to make plays on the ground and in coverage to limit Gordon’s impact on the game.
Most London games end in blowouts. Usually, it looks like one team has come to play and the other doesn’t. That trend will continue on Sunday morning. The last two weeks have destroyed everyone’s confidence in the Titans’ offense. They won’t be able to do much against the Chargers offense and will drop their third straight heading into the bye.
Chargers 30 Titans 10