Both the Tennessee Titan and the Indianapolis Colts suffered humiliating losses in Week 10. Against the St. Louis Rams, the Colts’ offensive line collapsed. Their run game was non-existent, and their quarterback was consistently under pressure.
The Titans lost to the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars. Even though the Titans gained 148 more yards than the Jaguars, they were hurt by too many turnovers on their side of the field.
For the Titans to win, their defensive front will have to put pressure on the Colts’ quarterback, Andrew Luck. In the Colts’ loss to the Rams, Luck was under pressure for 45 percent of his dropbacks. In the previous nine games, the Titans only have 25 sacks, but their four defensive tackles are highly ranked on efficiency in rushing the quarterback.
The Titans have lost their starting quarterback, Jake Locker, for the season and will have to rely on Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 9-year veteran backup. The problem with Fitzpatrick is lack of consistency and turnovers. In four games this year, he has a mediocre 56.8 percent pass completion rate, four interceptions and four touchdowns. Fitzpatrick isn’t going to outgun Luck, but he can’t make any serious mistakes and lose the game.
With an uncertain situation at quarterback, the Titans may have to rely more on their rushing game, especially Chris Johnson. Two weeks ago, he had his best game of the year with 150 yards in 23 carries.
The Colts now have a new wide receiver star, T.Y. Hilton. In two games, the speedy wideout has three touchdowns and 14 receptions for 251 yards. Fortunately for the Titans, their cornerbacks are playing at all-star levels and have five interceptions so far this year. Keeping Hilton contained and covering the other receivers will be essential for the Titans.
The Colts’ run game was pathetic against the Rams. Their quarterback led the team with four rushes for 17 yards, while their supposedly star rusher, Trent Richardson, only had two yards in five rushes. The running backs absolutely must become better, and they will need help with a better performance from the offensive line. For Luck to be more effective at passing, there must be a better balance between running and passing.
Robert Mathis, the Colts’ star pass-rusher, could have a huge impact on the game. He has 13.5 sacks this year to lead the NFL. Combine his superior rushing ability with an occasionally shaky Fitzpatrick, and you could get a game-changing fumble.
The Colts’ offensive line has to step up and find a way to contain the Titans’ Jurrell Casey. He consistently generates pressure up the middle on quarterbacks and is highly underrated. Luck is the key to the Colts offense and keeping Casey out of his face is essential for the Colts to established running and passing offense.
Playing at home will fire up the Titans. They need this win to stay in the race for a division title. Otherwise, the Titans will likely not make the playoffs, even as a wild-card.
With a win at Tennessee, the Colts could be on their way to their first division title since Peyton Manning left. This game will be very close and depend on how each team deals with the losses from last week and the ability of under-performing players to step up their play.