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Colts at Titans preview

Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at Tennessee Titans (6-2)

Time: Thursday, Nov. 12, 7:20 p.m., FOX

Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Line: Even

The Tennessee Titans will be hosting the Indianapolis Colts for a “Code Blue” Thursday night matchup. The Titans are coming off their best defensive performance of the season in last week’s win over the Chicago Bears. The Colts will come into Music City off a home loss against the Baltimore Ravens last week.

Titans Keys to Victory:

1. Pass Rush: Last week, the Titans were able to rough up Bears quarterback Nick Foles. They registered three sacks and were able to disrupt the Bears passing attack until garbage time. Phillip Rivers struggles when he must get out of the pocket and create. If the Titans can pressure Rivers and cause him to make plays on the move, the Titans defense will have a chance to get some takeaways.

2. Taking away short to intermediate passes: Rivers and the Colts find success in the short to intermediate area when they are passing. With running backs Johnathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, the Colts like to run screen passes. Rivers also like to hit drag and crosser routes. The Titans linebacker core will need to be able to get to the Colts back on these shorter routes to contain the Colts offense.

3. Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser: Ryan Tannehill loves to get his tight ends involved in the passing game. Smith and Firsker had eight targets combined last week. The Colts have an elite linebacker core so the matchup between the Colts linebackers and secondary against the Titans tight ends will be one to watch on Thursday night.

Colts Keys to Victory:

1. Hitting downfield plays: It looks like the Colts will be getting back their best down-field threat wide receiver on Thursday night in T.Y. Hilton. The Colts receivers will be going up against newly acquired cornerback Desmond King and there is also a chance that the Titans get back Adoree Jackson. Michael Pittman Jr. also is an added weapon for Rivers as he led the team last week with four receptions for 55 yards.

2. Improving the run game: Jordan Wilkins led the Colts in rushing last week against a stellar run defense in the Ravens. Wilkins, Taylor, and Hines have been seeing a split load. The Colts will need to have a good game from one of these backs to have a chance and getting a win.

3. Linebacker play: Led behind Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke, the Colts linebackers will have a tough challenge going up against Derrick Henry. Leonard is one of the best tacklers in the entire NFL. The Colts defense especially the linebacking core will need to be sure to wrap up Henry.

My Prediction:

In a primetime AFC South matchup on Thursday night, I expect it to be a slug fest. We will be seeing a heavy dose of Henry. I feel that the Titans defense will build on a good week last week which will transition into another good night on Thursday. Look for the Titans to put tons of pressure on Rivers and force him to throw some interceptions. Titans 24, Colts 14

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