These Are The Games We Play

AFC Game Of The Week

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

Colts: They aren’t flashy, they may not have the biggest names on either side of the ball, but they’ve been one of the hottest teams in the league since mid-October. In their last nine games, the Indianapolis Colts have a record of 8-1 and have remained in the playoff picture. Just imagine if they never got off to that slow start, they could be on top of the AFC South. This has been one of the more improved teams in the league with a head coach that you see the players giving 100 percent and then some for, the offensive line which had been one of the worst became much improved after the front office made it a priority to address the line and keep Andrew Luck protected. The defense has also improved and made their mark. Whenever the MVP discussions are started, the usual names come into the conversation. What about Andrew Luck? Around this time last year, the Colts were in the basement of the division and were gearing up to select in the top ten of 2018 NFL Draft. A year later, they’re playing for a playoff spot and possibly the division title. They are in this position because of Andrew Luck and he deserves some love for the award. Look at how differently of a team they are without him. With him, you’re in the position you’re in right now. With a win, the Colts will be in the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Titans: I’ll be the first to admit to you that I threw the towel in on them after their loss to the Houston Texans a few weeks back. Since then, they’ve been chugging along and playing with a chip on their shoulder. This is an old-school team that wants to establish the ground game and run the football along with shutting you down and playing physical defense. I know people had been questionable about Mike Vrabel and his coaching, but let’s not forget that this is his first season. Now, he has the Titans on the outside looking in of the playoff picture of the AFC. I like how they play because they grind games out in close contests or they can blow you out. I was wondering when Derrick Henry was going to come around because he’s been hit or miss at times. That 99-yard run against the Jacksonville Jaguars got my attention and since then, he’s been getting more touches and has been consistent. I’m a big fan of this defense and how they play. They stuff the running lanes, they pursuit the football, the defensive line can get a pure rush of the quarterback, the linebackers are always ready to make a play whether it’s forcing a turnover or stopping the run and the secondary has also been solid. It’s been an up and down year for them, but here they are in a win and you’re in situation.

Colts Player To Watch: Jabaal Sheard– He’s a veteran defensive end that knows a thing or two about playing in a big game back to his time with the Patriots. He’s your all-around end that can get to the quarterback unblocked for a sack, he can stop the run along with bringing down the ball-carrier and he’s excellent when it comes to tackles for loss.

Titans Player To Watch: Dion Lewis– I was a fan of his game when he was playing for the Patriots and he’s added a lot of versatility to this Titans offense. Whatever you need him to do, he can do it. You need him to carry it out the backfield, no problem at all. If you need him to work in space in the passing game, he does it and personally, that’s when he’s at his best when he can catch it and work in the open field.

Final Analysis: It has come down to this. The winner will advance, and the loser will be starting their vacation. These two teams have been very similar to one another with how they started, the inconsistencies they’ve shown and now, they have the same record at 9-6. The Colts offensive line needs to be ready for this Titans front seven because they will be coming after Andrew Luck. Who will be quarterbacking for the Titans in this one? Mariota got hurt in the last game against the Redskins and Blaine Gabbert had to step in and finish the job. The Colts need to continue to play the football that has them in this position right now. If I’m the Titans, keeping Andrew Luck in that pocket needs to be a point of emphasis.

Prediction: Colts 30 Titans 24