The Tennessee Titans will play the first of three consecutive games in Nashville on Sunday when they try to halt an ugly nine- game losing streak against the San Diego Chargers in their 2013 home opener.
In fact "the Titans" have never beaten the Chargers with the franchise's last win in the series coming nearly 21 years ago on Sept. 27, 1992 when it was known as the Houston Oilers.
"To be able to come home to familiar territory where we don't have to travel the day before the game (is big)," Tennessee safety George Wilson said. "We can be in a routine for these next three weeks without having to travel or go anywhere. I think that'll give us a lot more confidence."
Following a Week 1 win at Pittsburgh, the Titans were on the road last week for the second straight game, falling to the Houston Texans, 30-24, in a dramatic, back-and-forth overtime affair.
The Texans knotted the score late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard rushing touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion by Arian Foster. Then, on the first possession of overtime, Matt Schaub completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to seal the Titans' fate.
Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker piloted two long scoring drives in the game and capped each of them with a touchdown pass. His 6-yard connection with Kendall Wright in the first quarter completed an 80-yard drive, and in the fourth quarter, he directed a 99-yard march that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker.
Cornerback Alterraun Verner scored Tennessee's other TD on a 23-yard interception return. The play highlighted a two-sack, two-takeaway performance by a defense that also limited the Texans to a 35 percent conversion rate on third down.
Running back Chris Johnson also became just the third player in franchise history to reach 7,000 career rushing yards, joining Eddie George (10,009) and Hall of Famer Earl Campbell (8,574) as the only Titans/Oilers to do so.
Johnson finished the game at Houston with 96 yards on 25 carries, marking his second consecutive week with 25 rushing attempts.
"It's tough. It's really difficult," Locker said of the loss. "This is what's tough about this sport. It doesn't all go the way you'd like it in hard fought games like this. That's why you love it so much that's why it's so tough at times."
The sport wasn't as tough for San Diego last week as the elder statesman of the Chargers lifted the club over Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles, 33-30, in a shootout.
Chip's crew exploded for 511 yards of total offense but San Diego trumped that with 539 yards and getting the ball last, winning the game on Nick Novak's 46- yard field goal with seven seconds remaining.
The Eagles offense remained dynamic but left a number of plays on the field while the defense -- especially the pass defense -- struggled mightily against Philip Rivers and his favorite target, Antonio Gates. Meanwhile, it was Dwight Freeney who set the tone for the San Diego defenders, who did just enough to keep Michel Vick uncomfortable in some key situations.
Rivers, who threw for 419 yards overall on 36-of-47 passing, got the ball back after Birds kicker Alex Henery booted a game-tying field goal. He hit Gates for gains of 15 and 21 yards on the first two plays of the march before Danny Woodhead hauled in a critical six-yard reception to move the sticks on a 3rd- and-4 at the Philadelphia 37-yard line.