What bettors need to know: Chargers at Titans

Dec 24, 2009 |
What bettors need to know: Chargers at Titans

San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans (-3, 47)

The Chargers are undoubtedly the hottest team in the NFL. Winners of nine straight, SD has outscored the opposition 265-147 over that stretch. SD has locked up the division title and needs one more win or a Patriot loss to lock up the No. 2 seed in the AFC which comes with an all-important first-round bye.

Do you remember when the Titans lost at New England 59-0? Well, since then, they’ve won seven of their last eight games and are actually in the playoff picture at 7-7. Tennessee needs to win its last two games and get a lot of help to earn a playoff berth, but the fact that it even has a pulse is impressive.

The Line

Motivation has been the biggest factor for this number. SD opened as the logical 1-point favorite but Titan backers jumped on it and now Tennessee is the 3-point favorite. Even Las Vegas oddsmakers felt that the Chargers should be the favorites but because SD is in good shape to get the No. 2 seed even if it loses, the Titans are the choice. The total has risen a point to 47.

Injury report

The Titans lost top tackler Keith Bulluck (ACL) and linebacker David Thornton (shoulder). Bulluck, who’s career may be over after the injury, calls the defensive assignments and that chore will go to Stephen Tulloch. Veteran Jamie Winborne was signed to replace Bulluck.

San Diego center Scott Mruczkowski, who did a fantastic job filling in for starter Nick Hardwick, was placed on IR. Hardwick missed the last 13 games because of torn ligaments in his left ankle, but says he’s ready to return Friday against Tennessee.

Defensive backs Eric Weddle and Quentin Jammer should both be ready to play as will defensive end Jacques Cesaire. Linebackers Shaun Phillips and Kevin Burnett are both questionable.

They’re not Secret Santas

SD’s Shawne Merriman still insists that he suffered a serious knee injury as a result of cheap shot in a game against Tennessee two years ago. Several players were hurt in that game and four players were fined for the physical play.

San Diego also eliminated Tennessee from the playoffs that year.

“They’re a physical team,” SD quarterback Phillip Rivers said. “They thought they could punk us and we obviously aren’t going to get punked. That’s Jeff Fisher’s style of play.

“He wants tough guys, he wants guys that go out there and get physical and get nasty and get after it and try to intimidate the opponent. That’s just his style of play. You’ve got to love a guy for that.”

Fisher, who’s 0-5 against the Chargers as the Titans head coach, responded to the criticism.

“We’ve had some great battles, great matchups, and didn’t wind up on the winning side of any of them,” said Fisher. “ … But I know there are some other teams I’ve heard of that don’t particularly care for the Chargers. Maybe it’s

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