The Chargers roll into December with a two-game lead in the AFC West and only one winning team left…
TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
SERIES: 39th meeting. Chargers lead 21-16-1 -- when including the Houston Oilers, the Titans' original name before moving to Nashville in 1997. The last time the Chargers were in Nashville was 1998, the Titans were still called the Oilers, the team played on the campus of Vanderbilt, and San Diego, behind QB Ryan Leaf, won its second consecutive game to start the season. Four games (and losses) later, coach Kevin Gilbride was fired.
PREDICTION: Titans 23-21
KEYS TO THE GAME:
The Titans' run defense is too solid for the Chargers to expect to win with QB Philip Rivers completing just 10 passes like he did against Kansas City. So much for Tomlinson not being involved enough -- he's touching the ball on 41.3 percent of the snaps. But there are too many downfield weapons between WRs Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson and TE Antonio Gates for Rivers not to take advantage of a soft secondary for the big game he needs.
The Titans will come out running hard behind RBs LenDale White and Chris Brown. Although QB Vince Young has thrown the ball better the past month, the fact remains he has thrown eight INTs the past five games and will be facing his first 3-4 defense this year. San Diego leads the league with 20 picks, and they have 11 sacks the past two weeks, so Tennessee simply can't afford to fall behind.
FAST FACTS: Tomlinson has passed Walter Payton for third place all-time with 111 career rushing TDs. ... The Titans are 6-1 when Young has a passer rating of at least 80.0.
CHARGERS PERSONNEL NEWS:
--OLB Shawne Merriman (calf) didn't practice on Thursday or Friday. He should play Sunday.
--RB Darren Sproles (knee) didn't practice. He is questionable for Sunday.
--C Nick Hardwick (foot) was limited in his participation. He's pretty sore, but will go Sunday.
--DE Luis Castillo (ankle) didn't work but the team is upbeat over his rehab after surgery. He's shooting for the second-to-last regular season game as his return date.
--LG Kris Dielman continues to practice and play through a sore knee.
TITANS PERSONNEL NEWS:
--QB Vince Young doesn't have much experience against 3-4 defenses, but he'll face a tough one from the Chargers on Sunday and then gets the Jets two weeks after that.
--RB LenDale White has never played as a starter against an NFL 3-4 defense and may have to sort through some new things against the Chargers at LP Field on Sunday.
--WR Brandon Jones did not practice on Thursday and will not play Sunday against San Diego.
--SS Chris Hope will miss his second game in the row with a concussion or back injury. Calvin Lowry will play in his spot against the Chargers.
--TE Bo Scaife has been somewhat limited by a banged up shoulder this week but should carry his regular work load Sunday against the Chargers.
--RG Eugene Amano is likely to star his fourth game in a row in place of Benji Olson, who continues to work to sort out back issues.
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