TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 8: Indianapolis Colts At Tennessee Titans

Colts
Titans
Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee Titans v Buffalo Bills
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

Tennessee Titans v Buffalo Bills
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.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

  2. PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands off to Le\'Veon Bell #26 during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on December 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

    The red-hot Steelers head to KC for a rematch with a Chiefs team they throttled 43-14 in the regular season.

  3. HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans hands off to Lamar Miller #26 at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots points to the defense during the 1st quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Houston Texans at New England Patriots

    The Texans head to Foxboro, the site of a 27-0 loss in the regular season and now have to face Tom Brady this time around.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

New Podcast Network
Learn How
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live