Last game was absolutely beautiful. I have not seen a win that big for this franchise in a long, long, time. While it would be nice to revel in that, the Titans have to turn around and play in an even bigger game this week. How do they match up against the rival Colts?
Reasons For Confidence: Run Game, Momentum, Aerial Attack
Run Game: The Titans run game has been established as one of the best in the league. Last time they matched up against the Colts, they were very productive on the ground. However, an early deficit caused the Titans to go away from the run game. Though the Titans were mainly ineffective through the air, they continued to try and force it. This game, it will not be surprising to see the team learn from their mistakes and make a full-on commitment to the ground game. This will allow them to control the game, and in turn the passing game will benefit.
Momentum: Some will argue that momentum is not a factor in football. However, we have all seen enough Titans games and seasons that prove the contrary. The past couple of years have been the antithesis of this year; losses in every form imaginable piled up, and took a real toll on the team's mindset. Now, the Titans have had some great wins, including what could be a pivotal one against Green Bay. They seem to be gaining a lot of confidence, which is exactly what they will need to get the Colts-monkey off of their backs.
Aerial Attack: As previously mentioned, the Titans were mainly ineffective through the air the last time these two teams met. However, they have really seem to hit their stride in the past month. The past two games, the Titans have had their most effective outings through the air. If they continue to build on their momentum and have a performance similar to the past two games through the air, the offense will be very difficult to stop. Expect the run game and passing game to be much improved in comparison to the meeting in Nashville.
Reasons For Concern: Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Lack of Pressure
Andrew Luck: We all know that Luck is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, but for some reason, every time he faces Tennessee, he turns it up a couple of notches. The past couple of times the Titans have matched up against Luck, he has completely taken the game over. The Titans need to keep the ball out of his hands, and contain him if they hope to win.
T.Y. Hilton: This is another guy who seems to always have amazing outings against Tennessee. He seems to catch at least one deep ball for a touchdown every time these two teams meet. Though the Titans will need to dial up pressure, Dick Lebeau will also need to be responsible from a standpoint of containg Hilton. He will need to be doubled, and the defense will need to have the same mindset that Bill Belichick defenses in New York had against Randall Cunningham-- "G.T.F.B." (Look it up if you want to understand the acronym).
Lack of Pressure: One of the biggest surprises from the last meeting with the Colts was the lack of pressure. Their offensive line is not that great, they were banged up at the time, and the Titans' front typically has great outings against the Colts' offensive line. However, last game, they had a very difficult time getting to Luck, which allowed their offense to have a very productive day. This time, getting to Luck will be key. Casey, Morgan, Orakpo, and Jones will need to win their matchups, and Lebeau will need to dial up pressure when he sees fit. If Luck has all day again, he will pick the Titans apart again, and continually find T.Y. Hilton open downfield.
Prediction: It is time. The Titans absolutely must get this monkey off of their backs. Every game against Indianapolis, they lose in a devastating fashion, and outside of a humdrum win against Curtis Painter 5 years ago, the Titans have not beaten the Colts since 2008. On Sunday, the Titans can get over this hump, get a leg up in the divisional race, gain more confidence and momentum, and most importantly get another win. I can't point to a particular reason why I believe that the Titans will win on Sunday, but I can say that it is high time that it happened. Titans win, 26-23.