Another year, another Colts sweep. Last Sunday was very disappointing and a significant blow to the Titans' playoff hopes. However, there are still games to be played, and considering what we have seen over the past few years, it is hard to be upset by much this season. I have seen some bad Titans teams, and this is not one of them. The two first round picks will be essential next season. If the Titans can fix some aspects of their defense and avoid those 2 to 3 score deficits right off the bat, they should win a few more games next season. They drafted Lewan and Conklin to stop Watt and Clowney, and now they need to build the team to beat Indianapolis, as well. But I digress. There are still 5 games to play this season, and the Titans need to start stacking wins if they want to make week 17 meaningful. Win number one should come against Chicago:
Reasons For Confidence: State of the Bears, Dick Lebeau, Run Defense
State of the Bears: This is a team that is completely run down, at this point. They have been battling injuries all season long, but it seems as if the roof collapsed last week. First, the Bears lost some of their remaining key players to injury in Jay Cutler and Zach Miller. Then, to add insult to injury, they lost some more key players in Jerrell Freeman and Alshon Jeffery to suspension. The lineup that the Titans will face on Sunday is completely different than what the Bears started the season with.
Dick Lebeau: Since Jay Cutler will be out for Sunday's game, Matt Barkley will start. He has struggled his entire career, and that should not change on Sunday. He does not have reliable safety blankets in Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller, and Dick Lebeau should throw the kitchen sink at him. Expect a lot of blitzing and exotic looks, which should rattle Barkley and lead to turnovers.
Run Defense: All season, the Bears' one strength on offense has been the run game. Rookie Jordan Howard has been one of their only bright spots. With Howard playing very well, Jeremy Langford gradually getting back into the swing of things after his injury, and the Bears losing all of their main weapons in the passing game, it is likely that they will rely on the run. Luckily, run defense has consistently been the Titans strength all season on that side of the ball. If the Titans can shut the Bears' run game down, and take an early lead, they will cause Bears to have to throw the ball.
Reasons For Concern: Bears' Defense
Bears' Defense: Despite the Bears' record, their defense has played pretty well. Last week, against New York, that unit was what kept them in the game. They have a number of young, talented players, especially first round pick Leonard Floyd. If Taylor Lewan cannot play or is slowed by his injury, Floyd could have a productive day. As a whole, the Bears' defense is in the upper half of the league both run and pass defense. Despite the Titans having the advantage on defense, it only takes the offense turning the ball over or stalling out a couple of times before the game completely changes.
Prediction: The Bears are in tough shape right now. They were already one of the worst teams in the league due to injuries, and last week took things to a new level. The Bears have a solid defense, but their offense should be non-existent on Sunday. Titans win, 28-6.