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VOL. 44 | NO. 48 | Friday, November 27, 2020

Colts once again stand in way of playoff goals

By Terry McCormack

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If the Titans want to win the AFC South and guarantee themselves at least one home playoff game, they probably must win this week at 7-3 Indianapolis.

The 7-3 Titans put themselves behind the 8-ball two weeks ago when they allowed the Colts to come in and manhandle them in the second half on their way to a 34-17 win. Now, the Titans have to find a way to return the favor to retake control of the division.

First down

No special teams breakdowns. When you have the luxury of having played a team just over two weeks before the rematch, the problems of the first loss are still fresh wounds. The Titans’ special teams were woeful against the Colts and it figured prominently with their loss. Trevor Daniel and Stephen Gostkowski were better against the Ravens, but they cannot afford any critical miscues against Indy the second time around.

Second down

Keep it running through Henry. It seems so simple to say give the ball to Derrick Henry often. But earlier in the season, the Titans were guilty of being too cute at times, rather than just building momentum with their star running back. Besides, a good downhill running game can lend confidence to a patchwork offensive line that needs to keep pushing forward.

Third down

Play a little press coverage. The Titans have had too many instances where they have played too far off the receivers in third and short situations. No one made them pay more dearly for it than Philip Rivers, whom the Titans should be challenging to beat them deep, given that he has lost a little off his fastball over the years. More press coverage up on the wideouts can help take away some of those short completions and yards after the catch.

Fourth down

Bend but don’t break. The Titans played a lot of that style of defense last season, and it worked for them. This year, they have been far worse on that side of the football, but against Baltimore, they were able to stall some drives in the red zone and force field goals. The third-down defense still is a problem, but if the Titans can make the Colts drive the field and then get a stop before too much damage is done, then, if the offense is clicking, it can be a formula for winning.

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