The Tennessee Titans are still on top of the AFC South division despite losing three consecutive games of late. They will look to prevent a four-game slide when they visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. With that said, here are three predictions we have for the Titans in their Week 15 meeting with Justin Herbert and the Chargers at SoFi Stadium.
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3. Chigoziem Okonkwo scores two touchdowns
If your team made it to your league’s fantasy football playoffs, which begins in Week 15, you might want to add Titans tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo to your roster. Okonkwo is not being talked about a lot, but he’s been steadily gaining fantasy ground of late with the Titans seemingly adding more to his plate in their passing attack. The rookie tight end had a silent start to the season, as he had not seen more than 29 percent of offensive snaps in any of the Titans’ first five games of the season. However, that trend has changed for the better for Okonkwo.
Since Week 6, Okonkwo has played in at least 40 percent of snaps in five of eight games. No two-game stretch this season has been more exciting for Okonkwo in terms of snaps than Weeks 13 and 14 in which he played 58 percent and 49 percent of snaps, respectively. Clearly, the Titans are starting to see the benefit of having Okonkwo more on the field. While Austin Hooper and Geoff Swaim are still listed above Okonkwo in the tight end pecking order in Tennessee, it’s approaching the point where Okonkwo is a legitimate threat to the playing time of his two veteran teammates.
In the Titans’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14, Okonkwo had six catches for 45 receiving yards and a touchdown on six targets. He was the third-most targeted Titans player. Hooper went 5 of 5 for 68 receiving yards, but Okonkwo scoring a touchdown could be a sign of big things to come from him in Week 15 versus a Chargers’ defense that doesn’t usually do well against opposing tight ends. In fact, the Chargers are in the bottom 10 in the NFL in terms of allowed receiving yards per game to tight ends (54.92). Expecting Okonkwo to score multiple touchdowns even against the Chargers’ seemingly flimsy defense is indeed bold, but don’t be too surprised if he does break out in Week 15.
2. Derrick Henry rushes for 200 yards
Compared to what was laid out in the Okonkwo prediction, this one is much closer to reality and easier to see happening on Sunday. Derrick Henry rushing for 200 yards — or more — is a reasonable possibility in any given game. He’s actually done that already this season when he burned rubber for 2018 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-10 road win back in Week 8 against the Houston Texans. Henry went surprisingly silent, relatively speaking, in the weeks between that Texans game and Week 14’s Titans meeting with the Jags. From Weeks 9 to 13, Henry averaged just 64.6 rushing yards per game and only 3.51 yards per carry, with only one game in that stretch where he rushed for at least 100 yards.
However, he appears to have finally broken out of his slump, with Henry coming alive versus Jacksonville, rushing for 121 yards. The game against the Chargers on Sunday is an example of a perfect opportunity for someone as unstoppable as Henry to follow up a solid performance with a greater another. For one, the Chargers arguably have the worst run defense in the NFL. Henry will be facing a Los Angeles stop unit that is only ranked 28th in the league with 147.0 rushing yards allowed per game and last overall with 5.4 yards allowed per rushing attempt.
The last RB1 to punish the Chargers on the ground was another Alabama Crimson Tide product in Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, who went off for 144 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. That’s an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Henry is the last running back the Chargers would like to deal with, but they have no option but to test their fault run defense against the Titans monster tailback in Week 15.
1. Titans win by at least 10 points
The Titans will come into this showdown with Los Angeles as the underdog, which is understandable. They have not won in three games and they’re the visiting team in this matchup.
But the Titans are still too good of a team to lose four games in a row. Two of their losses in their current skid came at the hands of the reigning AFC champions Cincinnati Bengals and Super Bowl favorite Philadelphia Eagles. Not that those were enough to excuse Tennessee for their losses, but the Chargers are a beatable team with clear exploitable weaknesses for the Titans to take advantage of. The Titans are going to win this game, 34-23.