Week 14: Titans-Colts preview

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeDecember 4, 2012

Tennessee at Indianapolis
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 710
*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
*Keys to the game: The Colts don't want Andrew Luck throwing 54 times on a weekly basis, but the rookie now has six 300-yard passing games on the season following Indianapolis' furious Week 13 comeback victory at Detroit. The Titans' defense continues to struggle, as Tennessee was methodically dissected by Houston's well-balanced attack last week. The Titans simply aren't getting enough impact plays defensively - they didn't generate a turnover or a sack last week - to help their sputtering offense. Second-year QB Jake Locker threw three interceptions when forced to play from behind virtually the entire game last week. Tennessee needs a strong start on the road and to keep RB Chris Johnson the focal point of the offense. He had just 13 carries against Houston, and the offense bogged down in a sea of turnovers and dropped passes from the passing game. With multiple injuries along the offensive line, QB Jake Locker's mobility might be his best asset Sunday.
*Matchup to watch - Titans CB Jason McCourty vs. Colts WR T.Y. Hilton: Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians sees the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas as a critical period for young receivers to step up their development. Hilton has emerged as an explosive presence opposite Reggie Wayne, while also providing a threat as a punt returner. Hilton will work the underneath and middle routs, and it's incumbent upon McCourty to make open-field tackles in one-on-one situations because Hilton has shown the ability to make defenders miss.
*Player spotlight - Colts WLB Jerrell Freeman: Junior Seau, Donnie Edwards and Patrick Willis are among the linebackers who have manned the weak side in coordinator Greg Manusky's defense. Manusky told Freeman in training camp that it's a play-making position, and the rookie has done just that with 107 tackles.
*Fast facts: Luck is the first No. 1 overall pick to record eight victories as a rookie since 1966. ... Johnson has seven carries of 20-plus yards this season.
The Titans' offense is sputtering with an inconsistent quarterback and a new coordinator feeling his way. There's nothing sputtering in Indianapolis, where Andrew Luck is threatening to smash a slew of rookie passing records.
*Our pick: Colts 27-20