TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 8: Indianapolis Colts At Tennessee Titans

Colts
Titans
Quarterback
Winner Quarterback Andrew Luck has made steady progress with the Colts, although his results may not be quite as spectacular as No. 2 selection Robert Griffin III. Luck hasshown he can read defenses and come up with the appropriate play. He has a magnificent arm and a quick release. However, he has looked troubled when the Colts go on the road.
The Titans have been forced to go with backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and so far the results have been quite palatable for head coach Mike Munchak. The Titans have won back-to-back games with Hasselbeck at quarterback and he has been up to the challenge. While he doesn’t have a great fastball, he is accurate and understands how the defense is attempting to stop him.
Offense
The Colts seem to understand how important it is to give Luck a running game so he doesn’t have to do everything himself. Vick Ballard is coming off an 84-yard effort against the Browns and has done well as a backup. Reggie Wayne is still an outstanding go-to receiver who can take over a game and carry the Colts.Donnie Avery is a decent complementary receiver.
Winner The Titans have had a roller coaster season from running back Chris Johnson. While it’s been mostly a down year from him, he had an explosive 195-yard performance against the Buffalo Bills. Nate Washington is a solid go-to receiver who has good hands. Kenny Britt is an explosive speedster who can make big plays but is not always dependable.
Defense
The Colts play hard on defense. After years of playing a passive, bend but don’t break style, they have decided to go after it with a much more hard-hittingstyle. They make mistakes, but opponents now know they are going to pay a price for going over the middle. Cornerback Jerraud Powers had five tackles against the Browns.
Winner The Titans are not going to stop many opponents on defense, much to Munchak’s consternation. Receivers often run wide open against the Tennessee secondary. Strong safety Jordan Babineaux is a hard-hitting player who had 12 tackles against the Bills, but he can’t make up for the Titans’ deficiencies at the cornerback position.
Special Teams
The Colts are content with Adam Vinatieri handling the placekicking chores. His38-yard field goal against the Browns provided insurance for the Colts in Week Seven. Punter Pat McAfee has a strong leg and can kill the ball inside the 20.
Winner Rod Bironas has a strong leg and has traditionally been one of the best placekickers in the NFL. Brett Kern is a decent punter, but he is not going to flip the field very often for the Titans. The return game has not been a big boost for the Titans.

The Winner Is

Winner Titans
3 out of 4

The Colts have found a way to win at home this season with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck under center, but going on the road has been a different matter. The Titans are coming off back-to-back wins over the Steelers and the Bills, and they should be able to keep it going against an engaged but still immature Colts’ team.

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