NASHVILLE, Tenn. – T**he Titans face the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Titans are coming off a 40-17 loss to the Steelers, and they're now 6-4.
The Colts are coming off a bye weekend, and they're 3-7.
This week, I caught up with Mike Chappell, who covers the Colts for Fox59/CBS4 and Indysportscentral.com. Chappell has been covering the Colts since the moved in Indianapolis in 1984. You can follow Mike on Twitter @mchappell51, and join over 34,900 others.
Here's how our conversation went…
Wyatt:** Hey, Mike. I appreciate you doing this again. Right out of the gate, how is Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett physically? It sounds like he's a go for Sunday after suffering a concussion against the Steelers. How has he played of late, and what's the overall health of the team?
Chappell: Jacoby is playing better and better. He is in the concussion protocol – he had what's been called a mild concussion. But he has been practicing, and I would expect him to play. And they are getting healthier. They are getting (safety) Clayton Geathers back – he is the one who stopped DeMarco Murray on fourth-and-one last year. He'll play for the first time this year on Sunday. They are getting linebacker John Simon back – he has not played the last three games because of a stinger. So they are getting healthier. Now is that enough? I give them a puncher's chance on Sunday because I don't know about the Titans. I would think the Titans would be extra motivated to play better. The big difference is Marcus Mariota. When these two teams played last, I was stunned at his lack of mobility because of the hamstring. But it looks like that isn't the case now. So this will be a different game for the Titans offense.
Wyatt: These two teams played on October 16, and the Titans won that game 36-22. What's new with the Colts? I know they're 1-3 since, but with some close losses.
Chappell:* *They are playing their best football. In that 1-3, they could have very easily won some of those games. This last month has been about being able to make plays at the end to finish games. They've had the lead in the fourth quarter like seven times. They led the Tennessee game 19-9. But they have been outscored 110-28 in the fourth quarter. They just don't make plays to win games. They should've, could've beat Pittsburgh. They played well against Pittsburgh, and they played well against Cincinnati, and they had a pick-6 at the end. So they are just not making plays in the fourth quarter. This isn't a playoff team, but if they make four or five plays they could easily be 5-5. They just are not good enough to overcome the mistakes they make in the second half.
Wyatt: The Colts have the Titans this week, and the Jaguars next week. With six games to go, how motivated are the 3-7 Colts to be a spoiler in the AFC South race? And do they think they can get back in the race themselves?
Chappell:* *I think they want to reinsert themselves in the division. Remember, they used to own this division. They had something like a 17-game division win streak until last year, and they have fallen on hard times. You have to hold up on their division, and that is not what they are doing now. But I think they think they can turn things around. Now I don't think it's going to happen, because even if they beat the Titans, going to Jacksonville will be tough. I look at the schedule and I see maybe two wins – if they beat the Titans, maybe three wins. They have some games they can win. They have been very competitive, and the defense has played its best the last three games, and they are getting people back that can help them. The offense has to pick things up.
Wyatt: What's the mindset of the fan base right now? Look at the NFL Draft order right now, and the Colts are in the mix for an early pick.
Chappell: *The fans want them to lose out. It is similar to the "Suck for Luck" in 2011. They are fifth in the draft order right now, and the main places they need help – let's say left tackle and pass rusher. They'll have to get those guys at the top of the draft. The good pass rushers don't get on the open market. With a top five, top six pick they can address major needs. Any time they win a game now it's like, 'Way to go, you're seventh or eighth or 12th. Because they are already going to change coaches, that's a given. And they are going to get rid of some more players. The fans want them to have a bad record so they can get a high draft pick. That's the overriding sentiment in Indianapolis right now, to lose out and get a better draft pick. *
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series with the Indianapolis Colts. (AP Photos)