Colts at Titans: What to watch

Friday, October 21, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 43

Don't let their Luck run out. The Titans pass rush, led by Brian Orakpo (seven sacks) has been tenacious with 12 sacks in the past two games. The Colts have had issues protecting Andrew Luck this season.

The Titans should get some shots in, but they can't allow Luck to scramble away from danger and make plays on the run or with his legs.

Stay at the Hilton. T.Y. Hilton is Luck's favorite target, the type of deep threat the Titans have long coveted. Instead, they will have to find a way to cover him.

Veteran corners Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox aren't the fastest guys around, but thanks to a solid pass rush and their guile, the corners have held up well for the most part. Containing Hilton will be their top priority this Sunday.

Keep the balance. The Titans had to resort to their passing game to beat the Browns, who were determined to stop DeMarco Murray. That is probably going to be opposing defense's blueprint going forward, so it could behoove the Titans to loosen the defense early with the pass to open things up in the run game for Murray.

Exorcise the demons. There have been plenty of times the Titans have had chances to beat the Colts in recent years. They've almost always fallen short. Last year at Nissan Stadium, the Titans punished Luck and the Colts and had them on the ropes only to allow a late comeback.

The Titans are showing signs of learning to finish games, even if there are still growing pains (See the fourth quarter of the Cleveland game). The Titans can't afford to give Luck and the Indy offense such chances late in the game. They must take control early and finish strong in order to finally beat the Colts.

Matchups to watch

Brian Orakpo vs. Anthony Castonzo. Orakpo is third in the NFL in sacks with seven. Castonzo is one of the few solid players on an otherwise suspect Colts offensive line.

The Titans have had success bringing pressure from all sorts of spot, making it hard to double team anyone as much. Orakpo has been winning his battles. Castonzo will be a big challenge, though.

Delanie Walker vs. Mike Adams. Exactly how the Colts will defend Walker is a big question, but safety Mike Adams, who has been a ballhawk in recent years, is one solid option.

Walker has been garnering plenty of attention from opponents this year, but with the emergence of Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews, perhaps things will open up over the middle for him now.

Pat McAfee vs. Brett Kern. It's not often we match punters against each other. But McAfee is one of the best in the business and is a weapon not only as a punter but on kickoffs. Kern did a great job of pinning the Browns deep several times.

Whoever wins this battle for field position might be unsung hero on Sunday for his team.