Greatness On The Road  


A victory is in reach for these four road teams in Week 15

  • By Jason Feller
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It takes a lot to win on the road in the NFL, but there are four teams that possess the ingredients necessary to pull off the difficult feat in Week 15.

The Titans, Packers, 49ers and Chargers all appear to be in position to claim road victories. The Titans travel to Houston to square off against the Texans, the Packers face the reeling Jaguars, the 49ers are taking on a tough Dolphins team and the Chargers will do battle vs. the host Chiefs. Each matchup provides a unique opportunity for the visiting team to get a win.

Game: Tennessee at Houston (1 p.m. ET)

Venue: Reliant Stadium

Last time at site: In a memorable Week 7 game last year, Rob Bironas hit an NFL-record eighth field goal in the closing seconds to lead the Titans past the Texans, 38-36.

Reason for road optimism: Tennessee has won in five of its six trips all-time to Reliant Stadium. Throw in the fact that the Titans are undefeated as visitors this season (6-0) and the precedent is there for them to have a successful road outing this Sunday. There is plenty of motivation, as well, as the Titans can potentially clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory.

The Texans are playing well after a rough start to the season and are riding a three-game winning streak. Rookie rusher Steve Slaton has become one of the league's most dangerous playmakers and QB Matt Schaub is healthy again and coming off a career effort in Green Bay. All of those positives may not be enough, though, against the NFL's best team record-wise (12-1).

Game: Green Bay at Jacksonville (1 p.m. ET)

Venue: Jacksonsville Municipal Stadium

Last time at site: Brett Favre had a memorable day, passing for 362 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers' 28-21 win over the Jaguars on Dec. 3, 2001.

Reason for road optimism: The Packers have struggled to meet expectations this year and are on a three-game losing skid. With the exception of one game at New Orleans, however, the Packers have at least had a chance in nearly every game this season and still possess one of the league's better offenses. That combination could be enough for Green Bay to stop its slide and get a much-needed road victory at Jacksonville.

One of the few teams in the NFL that has fared even worse than the Packers in relation to its preseason hopes is the Jaguars. They have not recovered from losing several offensive linemen early in the season and the team has nosedived since a midseason malaise. Jacksonville has lost four in a row by double-digits and unless it can summon a sense of resolve this Sunday, it may find itself on the losing end for the fifth straight time and sixth time in seven home games.

Game: San Francisco at Miami (1 p.m. ET)

Venue: Dolphins Stadium

Last time at site: These teams have not met in Miami in over 13 years. The last time the 49ers made the trek to South Florida, they left a 44-20 winner on Nov. 20, 1995.

Reason for road optimism: The 49ers are playing much better under coach Mike Singletary. They have won three of four and came very close to winning at Arizona in Week 10. They became the first West Coast team to get a win on the East Coast when they beat the Bills, 10-3, two weeks ago, so the cross-country trip to Miami should not phase them. The recent hot streak combined with an improving passing offense under Shaun Hill could propel San Francisco to the upset road win.

On the surface, Miami would appear an unlikely candidate to lose at home this weekend. It has lost only once to a losing team and that came on a last-second touchdown by host Houston in Week 6. That said, there are signs that point to the Dolphins being vulnerable this weekend. In their last home game they got shellacked by the Patriots, 48-28, and they have struggled against the NFC West this year, barely beating St. Louis and Seattle, while getting routed by Arizona. Another outing like those and the Dolphins would be in danger of falling victim to the resurgement 49ers.

Game: San Diego at Kansas City (1 p.m. ET)

Venue: Arrowhead Stadium

Last time at site: The Chargers defense tallied nine sacks and forced four turnovers in a 24-10 drubbing of Kansas City last year.

Reason for road optimism: San Diego was in a midseason swoon before a matchup with Oakland last week on NFL Network cured all of its ills. Now, the Chargers are confident again and planning on ending the season positively. LaDainian Tomlinson is getting healthier from his early-season toe injury and QB Philip Rivers is the league's top-rated passer. That combination gives San Diego an excellent chance to win its second straight at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kanas City has played its best this season against division opponents, earning both of its wins vs. AFC West foes and coming within a whisker of beating San Diego earlier this season. Star TE Tony Gonzalez is having one of his finest seasons and he typically feasts on the Chargers, while RB Larry Johnson has also had some big games in this rivalry. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, those are two of the only veterans on the team and it will be tough for them to knock off a savvy Chargers squad that is clinging to remote playoff hopes.


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