|NFL Preview: Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans|
|Friday, 14 September 2007 03:36|
Clash of the Titans
The high-powered attack of the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts showed no signs of rust in last week's season opener. Their still-overlooked defense was also very sharp against one of the NFL's most explosive offenses.
Indianapolis will face another tough task defensively Sunday when the Colts visit the Tennessee Titans and their powerful ground game in an AFC South matchup.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Indianapolis -7 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 45.5 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 89% of bets for this game have been placed on the Indianapolis Colts -7 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Behind Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning, Indianapolis led the AFC in total offense last season, averaging 379.4 yards as it surged to the championship.
While their offense was overwhelming opponents, the defense allowed a league-worst average of 173.0 rushing yards a game. That unit, however, turned things around in the playoffs, allowing 17 points or fewer in three of the Colts' four contests.
Indianapolis looked strong on both sides of the ball in last Thursday night's NFL opener, a 41-10 Colts win over New Orleans.
Manning completed 18 of 30 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns, tossing two TDs to Reggie Wayne and another to Marvin Harrison. Joseph Addai, in his first career start, ran for 118 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries as the offense gained 452 yards, most in the AFC during the opening week.
The defense, meanwhile, held the Saints to 106 rushing yards despite having four new starters. The only touchdown the Colts allowed came on a 55-yard fumble return.
"It's one game, we have 15 more to play,'' linebacker Rob Morris said. "So let's not get too excited yet.
"You can get discouraged just as quick as you can get encouraged. We have the talent. Now the question is how consistent can we be, and that's what we have to work on.''
The Colts will try to start establishing that consistency against the Titans, who had no problems running the ball in Sunday's 13-10 win over Jacksonville. They gained 282 yards on the ground - second-most in franchise history behind the Houston Oilers' 296 against Kansas City in 1977.
Chris Brown ran for a career-high 175 yards - more than he had all last season - on 19 carries as Tennessee answered any questions about whether it would miss Travis Henry. The veteran back, who ran for more than 1,200 yards last season, signed with Denver in the offseason.
The Titans held the ball for 36 minutes, 55 seconds, their longest time of possession since Oct. 11, 2004, when they had it for 38 minutes against Green Bay. They averaged an NFL-worst 27:17 in 2006.
"Our plan for the last couple of weeks was to establish the run because the run game was going to be the difference for our offense," coach Jeff Fisher said. "Last year we had four 200-yard rushing performances and it was nice to start right off the bat with another one."
Two of last season's 200-yard rushing games came against the Colts, with the Titans racking up 433 yards on the ground in those games. Tennessee had a season-high 219 rushing yards in its 20-17 comeback victory over Indianapolis on Dec. 3.
"As we've shown, one way of effectively playing the Colts is keeping their offense off the field,'' Fisher said. "To do that, you have to hand the ball off.''
These teams split their two meetings last season, with each club winning at home.
The Colts beat the Titans 14-13 on Oct. 8 for their seventh straight victory in the series, but in the December meeting, Tennessee scored 10 fourth-quarter points and won on Rob Bironas' 60-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining.
Manning passed for 517 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions against the Titans last season. He has thrown for 1,057 yards, 12 TDs and no interceptions in his last four regular season games.
Tennessee's Vince Young was 15-of-25 for 163 yards with two TDs and two interceptions, and rushed for 78 yards on nine attempts in the Dec. 3 victory. On Sunday, Young was 11-of-18 for 78 yards with an interception and rushed for 22 yards on 11 carries.
Young improved to 9-5 as a starter, and the Titans won for the seventh time in eight games.
The Colts have won the last four AFC South titles, but December's loss to Tennessee snapped a 12-game winning streak against division opponents.
"Indy's a big week around here,'' Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "Everybody gets excited for it. It's the defending Super Bowl champs. If we really want to make a name for ourselves, we have to play well this week.''
By: Staci Richards - theSpread.com - Email Us
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