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VOL. 41 | NO. 41 | Friday, October 13, 2017

Colts at Titans: What to watch

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Monday, Oct 16

7:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 104.5 FM

Adoree’ Jackson vs. T.Y. Hilton. The Colts’ wide receiver has been a back-breaker for the Titans on many occasions over the years. He isn’t big, but he has the speed and shiftiness to make big plays. Jackson, a first-round pick this year, has had his ups and downs learning how to play cornerback in the NFL, but the steady improvement is there. The Titans at least need him to keep Hilton in check and not allow the Colts receiver to make explosive plays down the field.

Ben Jones vs. Al Woods. Jones knows Woods well, as they were teammates last year in Tennessee. The Titans need to run the football, and the interior of the offensive line – Jones and guards Josh Kline and Quinton Spain – have to assert themselves against nose tackle Woods and the Colts front that underwent some serious changes in the off-season.

Brian Orakpo vs. Anthony Castonzo. Orakpo has been pretty quiet thus far after putting up 10.5 sacks a year ago. Castonzo has been the steadiest of a shaky Colts offensive line for several years. The Titans need to put pressure on Jacoby Brissett, and they need Orakpo getting his share of the pressure and sacks.

Four downs

First down. Show up on a national stage. Prime-time games at home don’t come around very often for the Tennessee Titans. So, when one does, the Titans need to make a good showing. They also need to get back on track after two disastrous losses in Houston and Miami.

Second down. Snap the streak. The last time the Titans defeated the Indianapolis Colts, Mike Munchak was the head coach and Matt Hasselbeck was at quarterback. If you’re keeping count, that was two coaches and at least three quarterbacks ago. That was in 2011, the year the Colts pretty much tanked the season in order to draft Andrew Luck. The Titans need to shake this streak.

Third down. Figure out the QB situation. The Titans certainly hope that Marcus Mariota’s hamstring will be healed enough to allow him to play against the Colts. If not, then they have to rally around Matt Cassel better than they did Sunday in Miami. Six sacks and just 69 yards rushing certainly is putting too much on the veteran backup, who at this stage of his career has to be a game manager.

Fourth down. Run, run and run some more. The Titans, as stated above, were stymied on the ground with just 69 yards on 20 attempts. The Titans have to get back to running the football, something that has not been effective the past two games, after clicking well against Jacksonville and Seattle. The Titans have to get back to their identity as a team, no matter who is under center on Monday night.

-- Terry McCormick