NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -LaDanian Tomlinson counts Vince Young almost as a little brother, a fellow Texan he enjoys watching develop as an NFL quarterback. Young is a big fan of the running back from Waco who's rewriting the record books.
Young also had a friendly warning for Tomlinson earlier this year: Young wants what the San Diego running back has.
``I told him I'm coming after him for that MVP,'' Young said with a laugh. ``He's a real good guy. He's a phenomenal guy. I love him.''
The feelings are mutual even though Young, a native of Houston, is only in his second NFL season with the Titans, while Tomlinson is in his seventh for the Chargers. Tomlinson said they run into each other quite a bit thanks to their Texas roots.
``Every time I see him and watch him throughout the year, I get excited for him. He's a young guy, but he's performing. He's doing a great job of leading this team. He's stepping up as a leader, and that's what it takes,'' Tomlinson said.
Young gets his chance Sunday to show Tomlinson how much he and the Titans have grown in person when the Chargers (7-5) visit Tennessee (7-5). This will be their second meeting; Young's first NFL touchdown came in relief of a 40-7 rout by the Chargers in San Diego last season.
The Titans are a very different team now than in that game in Week 2 of 2006.
``I know they're thinking how they beat our butts last year, that's why we'll be an easy game for them,'' Young said. ``No, we're going to fight real hard this week.''
The Titans' defense has yet to forget that game, which defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said was tough to overcome.
``It's definitely a factor going into this one. We want to bounce back and prove to them that they're not that much better than us,'' Vanden Bosch said.
This one is crucial for both teams.
The Chargers can clinch their second straight AFC West title with a win Sunday combined with a Denver loss at home to Kansas City. Quarterback Philip Rivers said the Chargers only need to worry about getting the win.
``That'd really put us in the driver's seat with three to play, and really be more of a statement for this team that we are for real and we're going to be here come January,'' Rivers said.
The Chargers finally are getting closer to the team that went 14-2 last season, winning two straight and six of their last eight coming off last week's 24-10 win at Kansas City. They lead the NFL with 33 takeaways, including a league-high 20 interceptions.
``I think we're becoming more and more dangerous,'' Rivers said.
The Titans, who are 5-1 in December dating back to 2006, are trying to hold onto an AFC wild-card berth, but would lose a tiebreaker to Cleveland right now for that final spot. They have been dangerous mostly to themselves.
But they snapped a three-game skid last week with a 28-20 victory over Houston, with the return of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth keying a revived defense that is allowing 93.9 yards rushing a game.
Young has been at his best over the past month. He has the most combined yards among quarterbacks with 1,232 in this stretch, including 176 yards rushing.
And yes, he has been copying Tomlinson a bit.
``I take some of those shakes, some of the moves he has, and put in my game as well,'' Young said.
This will be San Diego's first visit to LP Field, leaving Arizona and Minnesota as the only teams not to visit the stadium the Titans opened in 1999. The Chargers did ruin the then-Tennessee Oilers' regular-season debut in Nashville in 1998, one of Ryan Leaf's rare NFL wins.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher has never beaten San Diego, a short list that includes Chicago and Seattle. The last two games involved trips to California, and Fisher pointed out the Chargers are 2-4 on the road this season.
``San Diego has been a tough place for us to play for a number of years. I'd like to think we have a better team now than we took out there early in the season last year,'' Fisher said.
Chargers coach Norv Turner took his team to Kansas City on Friday night last week to help adapt to the 2-hour time change. Tomlinson, who ran for 177 yards in that win, said the schedule change helped, and he sees the Chargers as peaking after starting 1-3.
``We know, for the most part of the season, we haven't really hit our stride and played our best football,'' he said. ``We feel like hopefully we can play our best football down the stretch. We have won two straight, and we're gaining confidence. Hopefully we can continue to do so.''

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