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The Tennessee Titans had the world watching as they took on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10. In what was expected to be a showdown, the Colts owned them and embarrassed them on national television 34-17.
The silver lining in that loss is the division is not out of reach and with this game, the Titans can take a one-game lead. Of course, a couple things have to go a little bit differently than the last game.
First, they have to get pressure on Philip Rivers. The veteran quarterback was unbothered in the pocket last time out against Tennessee, throwing for 308 yards and one touchdown while only being sacked once and pressured twice.
In this second matchup, the Titans will be without Jadeveon Clowney but even with that, they must be up to the task. They have to find a way to create pressure, whether it is stunting or twists up front or via the blitz.
Letting Rivers just sit back there with no pressure proved deadly for a team that already has trouble stopping teams on third down. The more pressure, the more mistakes Rivers could make and that enhances opportunities for turnovers, which is the specialty of the Titans defense.
The other important ingredient to beating the Colts is leaning on Derrick Henry. The NFL’s leading rusher has been the engine for the Titans offense. Against the Colts however, he only had 19 carries for the game.
Henry was averaging 5.4 yards a carry but at times, it seemed the Titans went away from him when they really didn’t need to and it became too late to go to him like they wanted to, considering the score.
The Titans need to feed Henry more to wear down the defense. Those three-yard runs will eventually turn into five or six-yard runs later in the game due to the defense getting tired of tackling him. With the Colts missing defensive standout DeForest Buckner this game (reserve/Covid-19 list), that is a big hole up front the Titans can exploit.
Also, giving him the football will allow the Titans to unleash one of the most dangerous play-action offenses in the NFL that features quarterback Ryan Tannehill, wide receivers A.J. Brown and Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith among others.
These two key factors seems simple enough when it comes to the Titans but they need to commit to them to give themselves the best opportunity to win. Will they or won’t they make it happen? We will have to see come Sunday.