The second meeting of the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts in the 2011 NFL season has Tennessee riding on hopes and prayers to get a place in the post season and a shot at the Super Bowl and the Colts are still looking for their first win of the season. The Titans' record of 7-6 puts them in 2nd place in the AFC South. The Colts' 0-13 record leaves them riding on hopes and prayers of winning one game this season and that next season will be better. The Titans are trying to rebound from a 22-17 loss against the New Orleans Saints, in which the Titans' star running back, Chris Johnson, was held to 23 yards on 11 carries. The Colts have struggled all season offensively and defensively. The Colts' losing record is attributed mostly to the teams' biggest setback of losing Peyton Manning before the first game of the season due to a neck injury that has had him sidelined all season.
Tennessee quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, is in a "wait and see" status because of a mild calf injury. Hasselbeck has put up solid passing numbers this season. Hasselbeck has completed 246 passes out of 403 attempts and has racked up 2,701 yards passing and 14 touchdowns so far this year. Hasselbeck's first season with the Titans has allowed him to step in and display strong leadership for his new squad. Hasselbeck was held out of practice on Wednesday and if his injury holds him out of practice on Thursday, rookie Jake Locker, the 8th overall draft pick, could expect his first NFL start against the Colts. The Titans need a big game out of running back Chris Johnson. Johnson has not put up outstanding stats as a whole this year with only 875 yards and 4 TDs on 217 rushing attempts, but has had shining moments that have given Tennessee huge momentum swings. The Titans are 83% more likely to win games when CJ has 100+ yards rushing.
Indianapolis' offense has suffered this season mainly from the loss of their 4 time NFL MVP quarterback, Peyton Manning. Manning was sidelined for injury before the first game of the season. None of the Colts' backup QBs have come close to filling the void left when Manning was sidelined. Curtis Painter has seen the most time at quarterback for the Colts and has gained 1,541 yards and six TDs throwing on 243 attempts. The Colts backfield has featured three different running backs, Donald Brown, Delone Carter, and Joseph Addai, who have almost equally split carries and yards gained. All three together have tallied 1,113 yards on 271 carries.
Both teams' defenses stack up similarly. The pass yards against the Titans' defense is ranked 20th overall in the league with an average of 240.4 yards per game. The Colts' defense is ranked right behind at 21st overall in pass yards against with 240.5 yards per game. The rush defense for the Titans also ranks them as 20th overall in rushing yards from opposing teams. Teams have averaged 121.8 yards per game against the Titans' defense. The Colts' rushing defense has struggled this season with an average of 144.3 yards per game from opponents giving them the 30th overall ranking in rush yards against them.
Fans can expect to watch a hard-fought game on both sides of the ball during the week 15 matchup. The outcome of the game will come down to how well each teams' offenses perform. The Titans need a big game out of running back Chris Johnson, and the Colts' have to find someone to step up to fill the void left by the injured Peyton Manning. These AFC South rivals will square off Sunday December 18th at 1:00pm EST in Indianapolis.