The AFC South can get wrapped up this Sunday if the Colts can take care of business against the suddenly spunky Tennessee Titans. After losing a nail biter to Dallas two weeks ago, the Colts bounced back and thumped the Eagles in a game that featured Joseph Addai and the Colts o-line slapping the Eagles around like Ike Turner on a blind date.
The Titans, meanwhile, have come into their own a bit, and have played winning football the last three of four weeks. For all the fun-loving ribbing we Colts fans give Tennessee Head Coach Ron Jeremy... er, Jeff Fisher, I have to say he has done a very good job coaching his team. Despite all the problems with Albert Haynesworth and Adam Jones, the Titans play hard for Fisher. The Titans are also seriously lacking in talent, especially on offense. I don't care what people say: Vince Young stinks. His QB completion percentage is 49% and his QB rating is a whopping 63.9.
Translation: he stinks.
Yes, I know he can run and make plays with his legs. So can Michael Vick, who also stinks. QBs are paid money to throw the ball, not run it. QBs that cannot throw accurately from the pocket are wasted roster spots. You can spin it anyway you want until it's fluffy and full of bright, shiny colors, but in the end an inaccurate QB is a bad QB. New Yorkers are killing Eli Manning for his inaccuracy with the football. Eli's completing 58% of his passes, and they're saying he has "accuracy problems" while Mr. 49% in Tennessee is hailed as a savior. Gotta love the corporate sports media whores.
Despite his QB's lack of ability, Fisher and offensive coordinator Norm Chow have done an excellent job protecting Young. They've made sure he's placed in positions where he does not royally screw things up. The Titans run the ball well with a resurgent Travis Henry, and their defense is playing better.
Here are the keys:
- Stop the run already. A big reason the first meeting between these clubs in 2006 was so close was the Titans success running the ball. The Colts surrendered 214 rushing yards that day, and yet still won. The reason? Tennessee's QB stinks. He threw for a paltry 63 yards and a pick. The Colts played that game before Booger McFarland arrived. Also, Bob Sanders did not play in that game, but he has practiced this week. If Sanders plays, the Colts should contain Tennessee's run and force Vince Young to throw the ball, something both he and his coaches do not want him to do (yet another sign that Vince Young does, indeed, suck).
- Enough with the friggin' turnovers. No turnovers. I'm sick of them. No more TE fumbles, QB picks, or wide receiver fumbles (especially from Marvin). The Colts have been very sloppy with the football of late, and need to get that corrected.
- Run Addai. The Colts started a nice thing last week, running Addai early and often. Tennessee is not good at stopping the run, ranked only slightly better than... the Colts. They give up 4.6 a carry on average. Addai should slice through this defense, opening up play action passing for Manning.
The one thing Dungy and the Special Teams should look out for are the tricks Fisher likes to pull whenever the Titans play the Colts: fake punts, onside kicks, etc. If Fisher pulls that, especially if it is on the opening kickoff, Dungy should return the favor. Adam Vinatieri is one of the best onside kickers in the league. They want to play that game? Fine. Onside kick against them back, and run up the score.
As always, the best Titans blogger in the biz, Jimmy, will cover the game over at Music City Miracles. The Titans are very motivated to win, seeing as it's been three years since they've beaten the Colts. They are also boiling over with confidence after their amazing 21 point comeback over the NY Giants. This will be a tough, hard fought game... the way a division game should be.