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-Wildcard Sunday: Tennessee vs. San Diego
By Chris Pokorny, PFCritics Writer
January 6, 2008
Can Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans overcome the San Diego Chargers in the rain? Who will win the battle between LaDainian Tomlinson and Albert Haynesworth?
AFC Wildcard Playoff Game - Team Stats
Tennessee Titans - #6 vs. #3 - San Diego Chargers
- Overall Record: 10-6
Road Record: 5-3
21st overall
(5th rush, 27th pass)
5th overall
(5th rush, 10th pass)
  - Overall Record: 11-5
Home Record: 7-1
20th overall
(7th rush, 26th pass)
14th overall
(16th rush, 14th pass)
Position by Position Analysis
Quarterback vs. -Quarterback
Vince Young: 13 of 21 for 121 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 1 sack.  2 carries, 2 yards.

Note: Young has struggled most of the season, and he didn't shine last week against the Colts backups. He will start the game off, but if his injury hampers him we could see Kerry Collins early. That may actually be a good thing this season for the Titans.
  Philip Rivers: 21 of 40 for 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 4 sacks.

Note: After struggling against the Titans for the entire first half of the game, Rivers came alive in the fourth quarter and in overtime to rally and miraculously win the game. He'll need to get the ball out of his hands this week quickly if he wants to reproduce that success.
Running Backs vs. Running Backs
LenDale White: 30 carries, 113 yards, 1 touchdown. 2 catches, 24 yards.
Chris Brown: 5 carries, 16 yards, 1 touchdown. 2 catches, 11 yards.

Note: The Titans had the fifth best rushing attack in the NFL this season. If you told that to most people, they'd probably be surprised. Whether it's LenDale White or Chris Brown, someone usually finds a way to shine. Ball security was an issue last week against the Colts -- they better hang onto it this week.
  LaDainian Tomlinson: 26 carries, 121 yards, 1 touchdown. 5 catches, 27 yards, 1 touchdown.

Note: Tomlinson was able to share the fourth quarter and overtime success that Rivers had against the Titans a month ago. Any time you go up against a defense with Albert Haynesworth in the middle of the line, you have your hands full. On the same note, any time you go up against LaDainian Tomlinson as a defense, you're in for a battle as well.
Receivers vs. Receivers
Roydell Williams: 3 catches, 30 yards.
Eric Moulds: 1 catch, 15 yards.
Justin Gage: 1 catch, 12 yards.

Note: Put an asterisk next to Roydell Williams, because he won't play this week with a broken ankle. None of the Titans' receivers had success against the Chargers -- will they find someone to step up in the playoffs? Perhaps the veteran Eric Moulds?
  Chris Chambers: 4 catches, 90 yards.
Antonio Gates: 6 catches, 57 yards, 1 touchdown.
Vincent Jackson: 3 catches, 47 yards.

Note: Neither team has a great receiving corps, but Antonio Gates remains one of the best tight ends in football. Chambers' big-play ability has been incorporated into the offense since coming over from the Dolphins.
-Defense vs. -Defense
Stats: 23.0 points allowed, 3 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles, 5 sacks.

Note: Albert Haynesworth. Kyle Vanden Bosch. Those two men have been the difference maker for the Titans' defense this year, with Haynesworth stopping the run and Vanden Bosch rushing the passer. Vanden Bosch had three sacks against the Chargers when they met a month ago and will need to be contained to keep Rivers from having his drives stall.
  Stats: 17.0 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles, 2 sacks.

Note: Antonio Cromartie's ratio of interceptions to time spent on the field is incredible. If Young throws a duck up, especially if it's due to pressure from Shawne Merriman, look out.
Special Teams vs. Special Teams
Rob Bironas: 1-of-2 in field goals, with a long of 44 yards.

Note: The Titans have been very pleased with the kicking ability of Bironas, including last week when he drilled a 54-yarder against the Colts.
  Nate Kaeding: 1-of-1 in field goals, with a long of 20 yards.

Note: Kaeding still has nightmares of a missed kick in the postseason a few years back. Can he overcome his past demons?
Final Analysis
Tennessee Titans vs. San Diego Chargers
Young hasn't shown the ability this season to lead the Titans to a victory as much as fans like to reflect on what he did last season. That doesn't mean the Titans don't compete though; their defense can frustrate an opponent beyond belief. They should have completed their effort against the Chargers a month ago, but a break down at the final moments changed all of the work they had put forth.

The Chargers were very hot in the second half of the season. That stretch will continue as Tomlinson breaks out a big play in the second half in a close game.
NFC Wildcard Prediction
San Diego Chargers 23, Tennessee Titans 16

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