The keys to this game are pretty simple. The Titans secondary has been bad at full strength, and now they are decimated by injuries. Cortland Finnegan says he is ready to go, but I have serious doubts that he will be out there. Can you imagine how excited Peyton Manning is at the prospects of facing an 87-year old Nick Harper on one side and a 6th round rookie on the other? I am scared that this could get ugly.
The Colts offense has struggled on the ground so far this season (84 yards per game 29th), which makes the numbers that Peyton has put up all the more impressive. The Indy offense used to be so dangerous because of the play action fake, but that threat has been pretty much nullified with the rushing struggles. Hopefully Chris Hope and Michael Griffin will keep that in mind and play their assignments.
So the key for the Titans will be to keep Peyton and company on the sidelines. This would be another great game to get back to the smash mouth mentality that Jeff Fisher football teams usually show. But, as the Dolphins showed earlier this season, even if you do that you still have to score touchdowns when you get the chance. If I were Jeff Fisher, I would not even attempt a field goal in this game unless it was a potential game winner with time expiring.
The Colts will likely load the box in order to shut down such an attack, so this game may well wind up in the hands of Kerry Collins. No matter which side you come down on in the KC vs. VY debate, you have to admit that Collins has struggled mightily this season. Hopefully he will have his full compliment of tight ends available in this game for the first time this season. No better time than a nationally televised game for Jared Cook to have his coming out party.
I will be at the game screaming my head off with The Hater. I am hopeful that this can be the game that turns the season around, but I have serious doubts that it will happen. Between now and then we need everyone to pray that Finny is ready to go.
There will be an open thread up Sunday morning to discuss the games that take place during the day.