The Titans have won back to back games for the first time in a while. Kendall Wright's return to the offense has helped, and the offensive line is running like a well-oiled machine. Can they build off of their recent momentum and win a huge game at home?
Reasons For Confidence: Run Game, Health, Trenches
Run Game: Run defense is probaby the Colts' biggest weakness on defense. They are towards the bottom in the league in run defense, giving up nearly 5 yards per carry (4.8). On Sunday night, Lamar Miller was very successful. If the Titans can get the run game going, they can dictate the flow of the game, and keep the ball out of Andrew Luck's hands, while moving the chains. Establishing the run game should be a priority on Sunday if the Titans want to win.
Health: Indianapolis is pretty banged up right now. They just lost Dwayne Allen for an extended period of time, and ten players missed practice yesterday, including a few key players in Jack Mewhort, Darius Butler, TY Hilton, and Phillip Dorsett. The goals and depleted and possibly defeated after Sunday night's collapse. If the Titans can take advantage, they could come out on top.
Trenches: Defensively, the Titans' front always has productive afternoons against Indianapolis. While the Colts' offensive line is improved, they are still giving up a lot of pressures and sacks. Dick Lebeau and the Titans will need to control the line of scrimmage on Sunday in order to negate Luck and the outside threats. Offensively, the Titans have the advantage along the line of scrimmage, as well. The Colts pass rush has been struggling, and the Titans' bookend tackles should be able to keep Marcus Mariota clean. Winning at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball will go a big way towards winning this game.
Reasons For Concern: Andrew Luck, Perimeter Matchups, Field Position
Andrew Luck: The Titans have never beaten Andrew Luck. He remains one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, and is the biggest threat to the Titans' success this week. If he gets in a rhythm, he can win the game on his own. When you look at Andrew Luck's statistics on Sunday night, you will be able to tell whether or not the Titans won this game.
Perimeter Matchups: While the Titans have good matchups at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, the Colts have good matchups on the outside. The cornerbacks are probably the Colts' strength on defense, and wide receivers are the Titans weakness on offense.To negate this, the Titans will need to incorporate Delanie Walker in order to stop Indianapolis from stacking the box. Meanwhile, T.Y. Hilton is the colts biggest playmaker, and the Titans' cornerbacks are their defensive weakness. Last year, the Colts' wide receivers making big plays on 3rd and long was what won them the game. The perimeter matchups will go a long way towards winning the game for either team.
Field Position: The field position battle has proven to be a very significant factor for the Titans this season. Last week, one of the biggest reasons that the Titans won was because they won the field position battle. This week, the Titans could be facing long fields with the best punter in the NFL coming to town in Pat McAffee. By pairing this with the Titans' special teams struggles, do not discount the special teams factor on Sunday.
Prediction: This is the biggest Titans game in years. If they want the fanbase to start really getting behind the team this year, a win here is all but a necessity. Also, a loss could bury the Colts for the season. This game will come down to how well the Titans run the ball, and how little Andrew Luck touches the ball. The Titans always *should* beat the Colts, but never do. Now, they have a golden opportunity. We can only hope that they take advantage. I will give them a narrow win at home. Titans win, 24-20.