The Indianapolis Colts (3-3) will travel to LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.to take on the Tennessee Titans (3-4). The battle will be for second place in the AFC South as both teams have playoff hopes on their mind. The winner will have a one game up on the loser in the division and could be critical on playoff placement come December.
On paper, this game is pretty even. The Colts are up and down and struggle to win on the road. The Titans, on the other hand, struggled badly to start the season off, but found a running game as of late and won two in a row after starting off 1-4.
The best matchup to watch is going to be the one of the Colts’ defense against Chris Johnson. If the Colts can stop Johnson, they will no doubt win this game. Johnson has only reached 100 yards rushing twice against the Colts in his career. He’s been good as of late and the sole reason why the Titans have been winning, but if the Colts can stuff him like the opposition did earlier this season, then Tennessee has no shot.
In the last three games, Johnson has rushed for 141, 91 and 145 respectively and scored his first two touchdowns of the season last week at Buffalo. Unfortunately for the Titans, Johnson only has two career touchdowns against Indianapolis. If he can’t get to the end zone, it’s going to be trouble.
The Colts have looked like an entirely different team on the road this year. In fact, they haven’t won a road game since Dec. 26, 2010. The reason for the lack of wins on the road has been the offense being terrible and the defense struggling to stop the run. This week could swing towards Indy’s favor and they could finally get a road victory.
Expect the Colts to control the clock as the Titans’ defense is dismal. They rank 32nd in the league in giving up 34 points per game. That’s good news for the Colts as they’ve struggled to put up points on the road. The Titans also rank 30th in yards per game, giving up 416.1 per game. They’re also balanced in giving up big gains both through the air and on the ground, so I’d expect Andrew Luck to have a road breakout game.
Like last week, the Colts can win this game if they can establish a rushing attack and not turn the ball over. The Titans don’t bring much pressure at the quarterback as they only have nine total sacks on the year. No player on the roster has more than two sacks on a quarterback, so don’t expect Luck to get pressured much.
That spells bad news for Titans defenders as Luck is great if given time. The Titans secondary doesn’t get many tips or interceptions as they only have six of those on the year, so look for big days for Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Donnie Avery. As long as the team can put attention on Akeem Ayers, they will be okay.
Tennessee has given up 34, 38, 41, 38, 30, 23 and 34 points respectively this season. Luckily, the run has been their way to control the time of possession. If there is no run attack on Sunday, look for Indianapolis to score in the 30s.
Indianapolis 33 Tennessee 23