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VOL. 42 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 16, 2018

Titans at Colts: What to watch

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Titans at Colts

Sunday, Nov. 18, Noon

TV: CBS (WTVF, Channel 5)

Radio: 104.5 FM

1. A big stroke of Luck. The Titans have never beaten Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who entered the league as a rookie in 2012. With Luck missing all of last season due to a shoulder injury, the Titans were able to finally get the upper hand on Indy. But of late, Luck and the Colts have been putting up points at an alarming rate, scoring at least 29 in each of the past four games. Not coincidentally, Luck has not been sacked in that four-game span, which means the Titans defense will have to find a way to create pressure in order to slow down the Indy offense.

2. Dominance in the division. The Titans aren’t in first place in the AFC South but they are 2-0 inside the division. The Colts are the only team the Titans have not faced, and they need this win in order not to fall into a second-place tie with the suddenly hot Colts, who could get back to 5-5 with a Sunday win.

The Titans, with road games at Indianapolis and Houston in back-to-back weeks, are at a critical juncture of their schedule facing divisional foes on the road in consecutive weeks.

3. Running game revival. The Titans don’t have a 100-yard rusher all season, but that hardly matters as they have been gaining yards through a collective means with Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry both chipping in and quarterback Marcus Mariota adding timely runs on scrambles and RPOs. The Titans ran for 150 yards as a team on 36 carries last week vs. the Patriots. Whatever works, because the run game’s resuscitation over the past three weeks has helped to improve the passing game.

Matchups to watch

Eric Ebron vs. Kevin Byard. Byard got a reprieve against New England because Rob Gronkowski was inactive, but there is a decent chance that he will be matched up a lot on Ebron, Andrew Luck’s new toy in the Colts passing game.

The veteran tight end has found new life after signing as a free agent in Indianapolis, and the Titans must find a way to slow him, especially as a red-zone target.

Marcus Mariota vs. Colts secondary. Mariota’s play has improved since he ditched the half glove that helped him grip the ball following the elbow injury that created numbness in his throwing hand. Since taking off the glove, Mariota has four touchdown passes and, more important, no interceptions.

He must continue to protect the football while also doing more of what he has done against the Cowboys and Patriots, putting the ball out there for his receivers to make plays without fear of something bad happening.

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