With it looking increasingly likely Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker will get the start against the San Diego Chargers Sunday, despite a separated shoulder on his non-throwing arm, it may be worth it for bettors to take a closer look at this Week Two matchup.
Locker, who played in five games as a rookie last season, is expected to be fitted with a harness on his left shoulder for protection to the injury he suffered in the Titans 34-13 pasting by the New England Patriots in Week One. Locker wasn’t bad in that one, going 23-of-32 for 229 and a touchdown, but the playing with one shoulder in a harness would seemingly have at least some impact on his performance. A likely result is the Chargers will be fed a steady diet of running back Chris Johnson peppered with a some quick slants and swing passes.
Unfortunately for the Titans, they showed no signs of a running game against New England and this follows a season in which they ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing. In fact, Johnson’s four yards on 11 carries against the Pats’ was his lowest yardage output ever for one game.
The Chargers’ defense is coming off a solid effort against the run in their 22-14 win at Oakland Monday night. The Raiders managed just 45 yards on the ground that night, a good sign for a Chargers’ defense that has several new key starters and a new defensive coordinator.
If Locker can’t go Sunday, Matt Hasselback will again serve out of the bullpen. The veteran quarterback replaced Locker in the fourth quarter against New England and finished 6-of-11 for 43 yards.
Other news on the personnel front: Tennessee will have back the services of talented wide receiver Kenny Britt, who missed the New England because of suspension for an off-season DUI. Also, fellow wide receiver Nate Washington will play and should be close to 100 percent after leaving last week’s game with a bruised leg. For San Diego, running back Ryan Matthews is questionable and could miss his second game because of a broken colllarbone suffered in the preseason.
Now for a prediction. This match-up looks all wrong for the Titans and it seems particularly tempting when you see many sportsbooks have the line at Chargers minus-6, while the remainder have San Diego as a full touchdown favorite. Laying just the six-points sounds attractive and we’re taking the Chargers in our NFL odds.