The Tennessee Titans are feeling pretty good about themselves these days. With Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, the Titans have won four of their last five, with the last one being a 42-20 blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. The Titans have plenty of momentum, but in order to make the playoffs, they must keep it going this weekend and the next destination is Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts sport a 6-5 record, identical to the Tennessee Titans, and they have one win over the Titans already this season. Heading into Indy, this is a big game for Tennessee and with all they have going well, it could all go away with a loss here. With that being said, they have to put themselves in the best position to win this game and if they are to follow these six points, then maybe they leave this game with a 7-5 record.
1) Feed Henry early and often
Running back Derrick Henry has been a man on a mission the last two games. He has over 300 yards rushing, four touchdowns and is averaging over eight yards per carry in the last two games and defenses have not been able to do anything with him. The Colts are only giving up 97 yards a game on the ground and it will be a test, but the Titans must continue to feed Henry the ball and have him be a part of the game plan. He is essential to Tennessee winning the game.
2) Consistency up front
The Titans key contributors that need to show up are the offensive line. The Titans offensive line has been inconsistent all season. At times they block and protect the quarterback, and at other times they look a little disjointed. In this game with the crowd probably going crazy, they need the offensive line to show up in the trenches. The better they are, the easier the Titans will be able to move the football. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the pressure of the situation and in the pass-blocking and run-blocking game. Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan will be a key figure along that offensive line to watch especially.
3) Who’s stepping up in the passing game?
The Titans have not had consistent play from their group of wide receivers and tight ends all season long. It could be wide receiver Adam Humphries playing well one week, and then wide receiver Corey Davis playing well the next, but neither at the same time. The Titans will need both to show up this week, but which one will take the lead in helping win this ballgame is the question. It may be Humphries or Davis, but one thing is for sure: both need to step up and produce. A loss could be playoff-altering.
1) Stuff the run
The Colts have a very effective running game that can cause problems. The Titans must handle that threat seriously and make sure they execute their run fits. Linebacker Rashaan Evans will be huge in stopping the run along with the front three for Tennessee. The more effective they are, the more pressure gets placed on the shoulders of first-year full-time starting quarter Jacoby Brissett.
The Titans offense isn’t known to drive the field and needs all the help it can get. In their last game versus the Jaguars, the Titans got help with two turnovers. Sure, the offense had some explosive plays that led to scores, but that is not their usual mode of operation. The more the defense can make plays and dominate the field position game, the better the Titans chances are at winning in Indianapolis.
3) Make Jacoby dance
Jacoby Brissett, when given time, can be accurate and make some outstanding passes. When he’s forced to move off his spots, he becomes less dangerous. The task for the Titans is to get pressure on him and keep consistent pressure on him all game long. Outside linebacker Harold Landry III will be a key figure in the pass rush along with lineman Jurrell Casey will be huge in making things happen and if they are, then that enhances the Titans’ probability of winning Sunday.
The Titans are coming down the home stretch and there is hope that they can make the playoffs. Exorcising their demons against the Colts will go a long way towards potentially making the playoffs a reality.
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