NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One final AFC South matchup at LP Field against the Indianapolis Colts (10-5) is all that stands between the Titans (2-13) and an offseason that is sure to see plenty of changes within the 53-man roster.
Indianapolis has the division locked up for the third straight season, but its hopes for a first-round bye were dashed after a Week 16 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said this week he will play his starters, but it wouldn't surprise anyone if Andrew Luck and company didn't play a full four quarters.
The Titans have lost six straight to their division rivals and will look to earn their first win against the Colts since 2011. These two teams met most recently in Week 4, with the Colts topping Tennessee 41-17 on Sept. 28th at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Charlie Whitehurst started that game for the Titans in place of an injured Jake Locker, completing 12-of-23 passes for 177 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Today's start comes off a career-high 287-yard performance in Week 16 against the Jaguars. On the season, Whitehurst has completed 93-of-157 passes for 1,254 yards, six touchdowns and just two interceptions, good for a 92.2 passer rating.
Tennessee is aiming to end a nine-game losing streak with its last win coming against the Jaguars in Week 6. The Titans are 4-8 all time at LP Field against the Colts.
Milestones on the Horizon
Derrick Morgan (6.5 sacks) needs a half sack to set a new career high for a season (6.5 in 2012).
Avery Williamson (101 tackles) needs three more tackles to eclipse Alterraun Verner's 2010 total of 103 tackles to have the most tackles by a rookie in the "Titans era" (since 1999).
Kendall Wright (55 receptions in 2014) can become the first player in franchise history to lead the team in receptions in each of his first three NFL Seasons.
Five Things to Watc **
1. The Colts Starters
As stated above, don't be surprised to see Colts starters exit early against the Titans. Different coaches have varying philosophies when there isn't much to play for going into the playoffs. Some opt to rest starters to avoid injuries; others want to establish a rhythm before postseason play.
2. Action for Antonio Andrews
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt alluded to the fact that the rookie running back out of Western Kentucky could see some touches out of the backfield against the Colts. The Buffalo Bills forced the Titans hand earlier this year when they tried to sign Andrews, with Tennessee opting to sign the rookie from their practice squad.
Andrews has been on Tennessee's active 53-man roster for a majority of the season, but has only been active on game day three times. The rookie has five kick returns for 110 yards, but has yet to receive his first NFL carry.
3. Final Chance to Make a Play
A majority of the players on the Titans roster don't have a roster spot locked up for next season. Whisenhunt has already said that his coaching staff won't start the evaluation process until after the season.
That means each player will have one final chance to make a strong impression to end the season. Whisenhunt will look at a players' entire body of work, but it can't hurt to show out one last time in 2014.
4. Finish on a High Note
This is the last game that these 53 players will be on the same roster. Changes will come in the offseason as they do for each of the NFL's 32 teams. It will mean a lot to everyone in the Titans locker room to avoid ending the season on a double-digit losing streak.
5. Inactive Lists
Taylor Lewan and Zach Mettenberger are both listed as questionable and have real shots at being active against the Colts. Whisenhunt has already said Whitehurst will start but Mettenberger still might suit up and serve as the team's third string quarterback behind Jordan Palmer.