NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans return to Nissan Stadium on Sunday to face the Colts.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Can Mariota stay hot?**
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has six passing touchdowns, a 125.3 rating, 124 rush yards and a rushing touchdown in the past two weeks, in wins over the Dolphins and Browns. Against Cleveland last week, he threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns. The Titans need Mariota to keep it going against the Colts, a team he faced just once last season. They'll also need players to make plays around him.
Getting Luck on the ground
The Titans have 12 sacks in the last two weeks – six each vs. Miami and Cleveland. Linebacker Brian Orakpo has been especially productive, with seven sacks in the past five games. Getting to Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is a big key on Sunday. Luck has already been sacked 23 times, and his offensive line has been inconsistent. The Titans need to swarm him. Luck is strong, so defenders need to lasso him and get him to the ground.
Titans receiver Kendall Wright made a huge splash in last week's win. Wright caught eight passes for 133 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown in just his third game this season. Wright made a huge impact despite playing just 22 snaps against the Browns. The Titans, of course, hope it's a sign of things to come. When Wright is right, it helps the entire offense.
Slowing down Gore
The Colts believe one of the best ways to keep Luck upright is by leaning on running back Frank Gore, and that's not a bad plan. Gore has 434 yards and two touchdowns on the season, and he's a load himself. If the Titans allow Gore to get going, it's going to make life a lot more difficult on Sunday. The defense's ability to shut down the run and build a lead contributed to the sack attack in recent weeks.
Taylor Lewan vs Robert Mathis**
Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan has been more than just reliable this season. He's completely shut down pass rushers on his side of the ball. Pro Football Focus, in fact, has Lewan as the highest-graded tackle. He hasn't allowed a sack – or even a hit – all season. Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis has been a force in his career, with 119 sacks since 2003. But he's been quiet this season, with just one. Can Lewan keep in that way?
That ugly streak
The Colts have won nine straight games in the series, and 14 of the last 15. The Titans have had plenty of chances over the years, including last season, when Indianapolis rallied from a 27-14 fourth-quarter deficit at Nissan Stadium to win 35-33. Luck was drafted in 2012 by the Colts, and he's never lost to the Titans. Yes, these are some ugly numbers. The Titans need to change the conversation on Sunday.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series with the Indianapolis Colts. (AP Photos)