The Tennessee Titans are officially on a roll. They beat the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football two weeks ago and then turned around and beat the defending AFC champion New England Patriots. With those two wins, there is renewed optimism for them this season as a potential playoff team. Like in time’s past though, they have to handle optimism and the first step in doing that is taking on the Indianapolis Colts. The Titans have had a pattern of playing down to competition and although the Colts are not bad, they are not the greatest team out there either. If they do these six things, then they could give themselves a great chance to extend their winning steak to three games.
1) The closer has to be a closer
As we saw last week, Derrick Henry was used in his customary closer role behind Dion Lewis. And as he did last season, he succeeded in that role, closing out the Patriots as he pranced into the endzone and drove that nail deep in the coffin. Against the Colts, he again has to excel in that role. The more he can eat up the clock with his physical runs and give body blows to the Colts defense, the greater the chances the Titans can finish off the game Sunday and leave the Colts gasping for air.
2) Pocket presence for Marcus
The Titans have not had the best offensive line this season, but not all the sacks they have given up have been on them. Marcus Mariota had excellent pocket presence last game against the Patriots and he must continue to do so this week against the Colts. The more he is able to shuffle around in the pocket but keep his eyes on his targets down field, the more explosive the Titans’ offense will be and the more guys like Corey Davis can be involved.
3) Get the tight end involved
The Titans have not exactly done the greatest job of getting the tight ends involved this season since Delanie Walker went down with injury. Jonnu Smith started getting involved two weeks ago versus the Dallas Cowboys and last week he got even more involved, catching multiple passes. The Titans’ offense is just better with the tight ends involved and Jonnu along with the other tight ends must continue to get open and make plays to open up everything else.
1) Keep the pressure coming
The Titans have not brought much pressure from the outside this season unless it has come from Harold Landry III. They have, however, brought pressure up the middle of the field. Guys like Jurrell Casey and Austin Johnson have to continue to be involved and wreak havoc. If they don’t, then that means Luck can sit back and get comfortable and that would not be a good thing for Tennessee’s chances.
2) Find Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron was a Detroit castoff that no one really wanted. The Colts thought enough of him to bring him in and they are glad they did because he has nine touchdown catches for them this season and does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This job will more than likely fall on Kenny Vaccaro to contain Ebron, but the Titans as a whole need to be aware of him at all times because he can hurt them and hurt them bad.
3) Hold down the running game
The Indianapolis Colts are not known to be a running team, ranking 20th in the NFL. The Titans are one of the best scoring defenses in the NFL, but the best way to get to them is to allow the running game to get going. For the Titans to control this game, they must stifle Indianapolis in the running game. The more the Colts are in obvious passing situations, the more the Titans are in control on defense.
The Titans have faced expectations before and this is yet another game where they must some expectations again. Will they win this one and meet the expectations or will they falter yet again to a team people think they should beat? We shall indeed see.
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