Friday, October 28, 2011
Sportaholic Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview
This marks the 2nd straight home game for the Titans and a chance for them to get back on track after losing their last two in unceremonious fashion. The Colts come into the game ranked 27th in the league in passing yards per game and 29th in points scored per game. And that’s just their offense. Those numbers would be unheard of it number 18 was still leading them. If you go just by the numbers the Titans should dominate this game but of course games are not played on paper. Tennessee has enough problems of their own after being exposed by Texans. Houston ran their offense to near perfection on the Titans who put up little to no resistance. Coming into that game its was suppose to be an AFC South showcase between the two prohibitive favorites but Tennessee failed to get the memo. I saw several red flags in that game that puzzles me still to this moment. If your going to talk about Titans ineptitude, then you have to start off with the enigmatic RB Chris Johnson. Sports talk radio in Nashville has been going crazy with reports that Johnson has been seen out partying this week even as the Titans are in turmoil. I could care less about the partying and even more about those reporting it. Johnson has been doing the same things he always did but when you sign a $53.5 multi million dollar deal then everyone feels they should have an opinion on your lifestyle. Johnson does have to start producing on the field because a lot of people are starting to lose faith in the former All-pro back. He doesn’t seem to have that spunk that has carried him to greatness in his NFL career, I will agree to that much.
Another puzzling aspect from the Houston loss was the Titans defense. Arian Foster did everything he wanted and more in gaining 234 yards of total offense and 3 TDs. Foster’s 234 outdid the entire Titans offensive unit who were only able to muster up 148 yards of offense. That’s just pathetic and when you add what Ben Tate did with his 104 yards on 15 carries then you get the picture that I’m painting here. The Titans defense could never get the key stop that they needed and showed poor tackling as both backs continued to burst through the front 7 of the defense. Now with all due respect, the Texans do have one of the best offenses in the league as they are ranked 7th in the overall in total offense even without stud WR Andre Johnson but the Titans usually have a good showing against them. This was one of the first times I can remember saying without a doubt that the Texans were most definitely better than the Titans.
Now lets take a look at the 3 key factors of the game:
1. Which team comes out and strikes first? Before you could blink your eye in both games featuring the Titans and the Colts last week it was over. The Texans went up 20-0 by halftime on Tennessee and New Orleans was up 21-0 after the first and 34-7 at halftime. One of these teams will put up points early and gain confidence. The Titans have every reason to get off to a hot start as they are at home and after taking all those boos from last week they should be motivated from the first snap of the game. Curtis Painter and the Colts offense have been getting better each week but they no where close to what the Titans should be able to bring to the table. Even with that being said, if the Colts can find a way to accumulate points early and gain some traction then they could make this one a game. Watch out for who draws first blood and see how the momentum goes from there.
2. Which Titans offense will show up? The Titans have every reason to be successful on offense this Sunday. As I mentioned above, the Colts statistically are ranked near the bottom of every major defensive category. Matt Hasselbeck and his receivers should be able to find open lanes and even Chris Johnson should get loose as Indianapolis hasn’t’ stopped anyone on the ground this season. Now if Tennessee gets back into their bad habits of poor blocking, Hasselbeck trying too do to much and buy too much time, and Johnson running east-west instead of north-south then they could become their own worst enemies. Football is a cruel sport and can teach you a cruel lesson if you don’t play up to your potential. If the Titans play the way that they can on offense then they should have no problem disposing of the Colts.
3. Home field disadvantage? This game marks the 100th game in LP field for the Titans. Their record is 62-37 all time here in Nashville. You couldn’t tell that by the way the fans voiced their displeasure at last Sunday’s game. How will the fans in this one if the Titans come out flat like they did against Houston? That remains to be seen but in most games the LP faithful are some of the best fans in the league. If they come and cheer as they usually do, they can make this an even harder game for the lowly Colts. Curtis Painter will be baptized by fire with his first start in Nashville and I’m curious to see how he performs. Also, how will they react if Chris Johnson has another no show game like he did last week.
Final Prediction: This is a game the Titans can’t lose after being manhandled at home by Houston. The Colts are dangerous in a sense because they are desperate for a win in any conceivable way, so they will pull out all the stops. As long as the Titans play their game and don’t get into their bad habits they should win this will with ease. No Peyton Manning equals no wins so far for the Colts and I’m sure the Titans would like to keep it that way.
The Pick: Titans 31 Colts 17
COLTS: Seek 6th consecutive win against Titans…Since realignment in ’02, Colts have 42-13 (.764) record vs. AFC South…In 4 career starts, QB CURTIS PAINTER has completed 60 of 108 passes (55.6 pct.) for 813 yards with 5 TDs vs. 2 INTs & 87.5 passer rating…RB JOSEPH ADDAI has 3 rush TDs in past 3 vs. Ten. Rookie RB DELONE CARTER (4th round, No. 119) had career-high 89 rush yards last week. Carter has rush TD in 2 of past 3 games…WR REGGIE WAYNE (817) needs 3 receptions to surpass Pro Football HOFer STEVE LARGENT (819) for 20th-most catches all-time. WR PIERRE GARCON is averaging 102.3 rec. yards per game in past 3 games vs. Titans (307 total). Has 3 TD catches in past 2 against Ten…WR AUSTIN COLLIE has 3 TD catches in 2 career games vs. Ten…DE DWIGHT FREENEY (98.5) needs 1.5 sacks to become 26th player with 100 career since stat became official in ’82. Freeney has 13 sacks in 16 career games vs. Titans. DE JAMAAL ANDERSON registered 1st sack as Colt last week…LB PAT ANGERER leads team with 79 tackles…TITANS: Dating back to 12/19/10, club has won 3 of past 4 at LP Field…QB MATT HASSELBECK has 90+ passer rating in 4 of 6 games this season. In only start vs. Colts (w/ Seahawks on 12/24/05) Hasselbeck completed 17 of 21 passes (81 pct.) for 168 yards with 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs & 131.7 passer rating…RB CHRIS JOHNSON has 100+ rush yards in 2 of past 3 vs. Colts (113, 111). Johnson (35) needs 2 rush TDs to surpass STEVE MC NAIR for 3rd-most rush TDs in franchise history (EARL CAMPBELL, 73; EDDIE GEORGE, 64). Johnson (4,866) needs 134 rush yards to reach 5,000 career. Tied season-best with 6 rec. last week…WR NATE WASHINGTON has 90+ rec. yards in 2 of 3 home games this season…TE JARED COOK is averaging 17.7 yards per catch this season (13 rec., 230 yards). Cook has TD catch in 2 of past 3…CB JASON MC COURTY leads team in tackles (51) & INTs (2) in 2011