Titans: 3 keys to a win over the Colts

Scott Horner/IndyStar photo illustration via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Scott Horner/IndyStar photo illustration via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The battle for top spot in the AFC South gets underway tomorrow night in Nissan Stadium and offers neutral fans a game worth watching on Thursday Night Football for the first time this season.

The Titans lead the Indianapolis Colts by a game after the Colts fell to the Baltimore Ravens and the Titans soundly beat the Chicago Bears in Week 9. The Colts have had the Titans' number in the last 10 years, but with no Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck, the time for the Titans to take control of the South has come and Ryan Tannehill is the man for the job.

Reignite the offense

Since that thrilling win over the Texans, the Titans offense has not been itself. To give you an idea of what I mean:

- In the wins over the Bills and Texans, the Titans scored 42 points in both games (84 total).

- In the two losses to the Steelers and Bengals, and the win over the Bears, the Titans scored 69 total points.

What has happened to the creativity of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith? And why is Derrick Henry getting bogged down repeatedly?

Part of the problem has been the predictability. While a player like A.J. Brown just needs to get the ball in his hands and uses space expertly, running back Derrick Henry has not had the luxury of space. The former Heisman winner and the best back in the league leads the NFL in yards after contact and has had a tough time even getting to the line of scrimmage without getting hit.

The Titans offensive line has been a huge issue and against this Colts' front seven, it won't be easy again. Indy has allowed 669 yards rushing through the first half of the season which is second best in the league (only the Saints are better). The Colts defense also allows just 20 points per game which is third best in the NFL.

Smith better start thinking outside the box if he wants his unit to put points on the board.

George Walker IV /  The Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC
George Walker IV / The Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Adoree's debut? Finally!!

Starting 5-0 and the offense's incredible showings smoothed over the fact that the Tennessee secondary was rather weak without slot corner Adoree Jackson. In his stead, Mike Vrabel and his staff turned to Jonathan Joseph and rookie Chris Jackson. As we saw, neither was good enough to fill in.

So, the team went out and traded for Desmond King II. The former Los Angeles Charger has already showed off his potential with a fumble returned for a touchdown and a couple of great plays in pass coverage. However, the secondary is still weak without Jackson.

After missing the first half of the season, Adoree has to be nearing a return, right? Well, according to coach Vrabel, Adoree should be able to play at least a little bit since he was activated just minutes ago as I write this.

Having Malcolm Butler, King II, Adoree, Kevin Byard, and Kenny Vaccaro in pass coverage should be a HUGE step in the right direction for the pass defense. If it isn't, we are in big trouble folks.

Clean football will win the game

This Titans team is very good at finding a way to win. Though it usually isn't the prettiest football, they just know how to get the job done in the end. More importantly, the offense realizes that a punt is much better than forcing something.

Ryan Tannehill has been resolute with the ball in his hands and has not made many mistakes. Derrick Henry doesn't fumble the ball, either. So, if the offense can keep possession, run the clock, and not turn the ball over, they will be in the thick of the game alway through to the end.

If the defense can get off the field on third down and limit penalties, they will win this game. I have no doubt of that.