Here are the five keys for the Tennessee Titans in Sunday’s road game against the Indianapolis Colts:
1. Overcome the ghosts of Colts past. The Titans don’t have to worry about Peyton Manning walking through that door. And they don’t have to worry about Andrew Luck, suiting up on Sunday. They don’t even have to worry about such Colts immortals as Curtis Painter and Josh Freeman. All they have to do is slow down Jacoby Brissett enough on Sunday to earn their first win in 10 tries at Lucas Oil Stadium.
2. Stop Brissett as a runner and contain him as a passer. Brissett has improved in each game since being acquired from the Patriots in week two. The key will be to keep him in the pocket and make him make consistent throws from there. Brissett has gotten better as a passer, but the broken plays might still be the ones that could hurt the Titans most defensively.
3. Get Marcus Mariota rolling. Mariota is eager to fix the mess he had a week ago Thursday in Pittsburgh with four picks. The Titans need to let Mariota get into a good rhythm early and get some confidence in the passing game, especially the intermediate routes to guys like Delanie Walker, which has been the bread-and-butter of the passing game when it has had success.
4. Stay in a rhythm with the run. The Titans have split carries between DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry more evenly this year, with less actual success. Maybe it’s time to go with one or the other as the workhorse and sprinkle the other one in occasionally to keep the starter fresh. The Titans probably will give Murray the first look, and need to get him rolling for the final six weeks of the year. But if that fails, then don’t hesitate to let Henry carry the load.
5. Take care of business. The Titans now find themselves looking up at the Jaguars in the AFC South. Sure, they are still in the wild-card picture, but if the want to have a shot at the division, they have to take care of business themselves to create a chance at the end because the Jaguars’ remaining schedule is about as cushy as the Titans remaining six games. So the chances of a stumble would appear minimal.