KRAVITZ: 5 keys for the Colts-Titans game

Indianapolis Colts' Marlon Mack (25) runs during overtime of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis. Indianapolis won 26-23. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Bob Kravitz breaks down the five things the Colts need to do to pull out a win on the road against the Tennessee Titans:

  • The Colts must slow down the Tennessee running game. This is one of the better offensive lines in the league, especially at the tackles with Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin, and the Titans have a two-headed monster in the backfield with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Right now, Tennessee is ninth in the league in rushing yards and second in rushing yards per attempt. This is why the Colts added Johnathan Hankins, Al Woods and others. The Colts have done a nice job against the run, with the one exception of the Seattle game. Marcus Mariota is usually a big part of the Tennessee running game, but he figures to be physically limited after suffering a hamstring injury.
  • Attack the Titans secondary. Tennessee has the 30th-ranked defense in the NFL, and they are especially prone to giving up plays in the secondary. The key, then, is going to be giving Jacoby Brissett the time he needs to make plays downfield, a bigger issue now that it appears Jack Mewhort will be replaced by Le’Raven Clark. The revolving door on the offensive line continues. If he has the time, Brissett has got to attack the Tennessee corners.
  • Get an early lead and plant a small seed of doubt. By now, everybody knows the statistics: The Colts have beaten the Titans 11 straight times and 16 of the last 17 times they’ve played. On paper, Tennessee is a vastly superior team than the Colts, but if Indy can jump on Tennessee and turn the crowd against the Titans, some of those old doubts might come creeping back in.
  • More Mack, please. Nobody is calling for Marlon Mack to be the featured back just yet – well, I’m not anyway – simply because he’s missed time with injuries and hasn’t yet learned how to be a third-down back who understands pass protection. But he brings the Colts an explosiveness they’ve lacked since Donald Brown played in Indianapolis. The more the Colts can get the ball into Mack’s hands – either on the run or in the passing game – the more likely it is that he’ll make one of the jaw-dropping plays he made last week against the 49ers.
  • Play 60. It’s really simple: The Colts are the worst second-half team in all of football. Even in their two victories, they’ve fallen apart in the final moments, and did it against Cleveland and San Francisco, two winless teams. The Colts have to play their best game of the season Monday, and they’ve got to finish. For a change.

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