NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans face the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has thrown seven touchdown passes over the last two weeks. In the past six games, he has 17 touchdown passes vs only three interceptions, with a 119.0 rating. Yes, he's been hot. Mariota was off-target on a number of throws in the team's first meeting against the Colts, however. After the game, he was critical of himself, and vowed to improve his technique. He blamed the errant throws on throwing off of one foot. He's made corrections, and it's shown. Can Mariota stay hot on Sunday? The Titans sure hope so.
Murray to 1,000?
Titans running back DeMarco Murray has 930 yards over the first 10 games of the season. If he reaches his average again on Sunday, he'll topple the 1,000-yard mark for the third time in his career. It would also enhance the team's chances of winning. The Colts are ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 114.9 yards per game on average. Murray, by the way, ran for 107 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting against the Colts.
Receiver Rishard Matthews is hot, with six touchdowns in the past six games. Rookie Tajae Sharpe appears to have found his second wind – he's been more of a force of late. But tight end Delanie Walker could be a difference-maker once again in Sunday's game. Walker set the tone with some bruising runs after making catches against the Packers during a nine-catch, 124-yard performance. Look for him to be a big part of the plan again this week.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been a thorn in Tennessee's side since he first entered the NFL. Luck is 8-0 as a starter vs. the Titans, and in the past four meetings he has 1,166 passing yards (291.5 per game) with 11 touchdowns and a 115.4 rating. He threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting in Nashville. The Titans need to pressure him, and make him uncomfortable. The Titans managed just two sacks against Luck the first time around.
Back in Week 7, the Titans secondary focused on slowing down receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle, and that wasn't easy. Hilton racked up seven catches for 133 yards, while Doyle had nine catches for 78 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. The Colts are healthier now, with tight end Dwayne Allen and receivers Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett now healthy. The secondary will have a chance to make plays, and they'll need to make them.
Find a Way
This is the most important thing to watch of all. The Titans have lost 10 straight games to the Colts, including the 34-26 loss in Nashville on October 23. One of those 10 losses was in overtime, seven of those losses have come by single-digits, and three have come by four points or less. The Titans led in the second half in many of them, only to let the lead slip away. The Titans need to find a way to close the deal this time around. It's a big game in the AFC South.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series with the Indianapolis Colts. (AP Photos)