NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jordan Babineaux and his brother Jonathan Babineaux weren't supposed to play football indoors.
Their mother didn't allow running in the house, but the youngsters found a way around that rule.
"We couldn't run in the house but we used to play football on our knees," Jordan recalled. "We used to get shirts and stuff socks and make shoulder pads. It was just fun growing up."
Jordan, a safety on the Titans, and Jonathan, a defensive tackle on the Falcons, will have full permission to play indoors Sunday when Tennessee visits Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. State-of-the-art pads will be provided, and the brothers will have the blessing of their mother, who will be glad to see both sons in one place, Jordan said.
"Her SkyMiles are through the roof right now," Jordan said. "It's certainly going to be a good thing once again to get the family together right before the holidays. It's something that you really don't get a chance to experience a lot of times due to the nature of our work."
Jordan spent his first seven seasons with Seattle and signed with Tennessee in the offseason. The acquisition of the versatile veteran has helped the Titans, with Babineaux starting seven of nine games in place of Chris Hope, who has battled shoulder and forearm injuries. Babineaux leads the Titans with 75 tackles and has a 97-yard interception return this season.
Jonathan has 19 career sacks in his seven seasons since being drafted in the second round by the Falcons. Jonathan, at 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, has 2 inches and 90 pounds on Jordan, who is younger than Jonathan by 10 months.
"We were about the same age, although we didn't play on the same Pop Warner teams because he was always over the weight limit," Jordan said. "We didn't have an opportunity to play together until middle school and high school, and that was an excellent time."
RED ZONE CHALLENGE: The Titans' offense has been effective and efficient when it's gotten the ball inside an opponent's 20-yard-line this season.
Tennessee has scored 19 of 21 (90.5 percent) red zone possessions. The Titans have scored touchdowns 15 times for a TD efficiency percentage of 71.4.
The Falcons, conversely, have been stingy in the red zone. Opponents have driven inside the Atlanta 20-yard-line 29 times but scored touchdowns just 10 times (34.5 percent TD efficiency) and settled for 13 field goals. The Falcons have also created five turnovers inside the red zone this season, with safety Thomas DeCoud has picked off three passes in the end zone.
"I think they are a team that doesn't take a lot of risks, kind of the bend but don't break kind of thing, and they are just talented," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "When you get down there it's a little harder and there is less area to work in, no doubt. They have been successful getting people to kick field goals and not give up the big play."
Munchak said the Titans must show patience, consistent execution and "earn" points against the Falcons.
"We have done well in the red zone and so have they, so this will be a great challenge for us to get sevens, get touchdowns not field goals," Munchak said.
LINEBACKER SHUFFLE: Seven-year veteran middle linebacker Barrett Ruud practiced fully Friday but is listed as questionable for the lineup Sunday. Ruud, who signed with the Titans in the offseason after six years in Tampa Bay, has played 12 games against Atlanta, the most of any Titans player.
Ruud missed last week at Carolina with a groin injury, and rookie Colin McCarthy started in his place and had 12 tackles against the Panthers. McCarthy, however, did not practice Thursday or Friday because of a knee problem.
"He is just sore, the knee is still a little stiff so we just loosened him up a little bit early in practice and then let him sit out to see how he is (Saturday) and make a decision on him over the weekend," Munchak said.
Reserve linebacker and special teams captain Tim Shaw may be called upon for snaps at the post.
"I like our game plan a lot," Shaw said. "I'm just going to go in and play hard — I know my assignments — and just enjoy it."
Munchak said coaches and players have confidence in Shaw.
"That gives us another guy who can play the spot if we have injuries as we go through the game, depending how these things sort out this weekend," Munchak said.
OTHER INJURIES: Nate Washington was limited in practice Friday due to illness but will be listed as probable. LB Gerald McRath (hamstring) practiced fully Friday and will be listed as questionable. DE Dave Ball (concussion) engaged in a limited practice but will be out for the second straight week.