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Place: LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee
The Titans have been a sieve on defense, allowing a league-worst 238 points, but they eked out a 35-34 victory over the Buffalo Bills last week on Matt Hasselbeck’s fourth-down touchdown pass with 63 seconds to play.
The Colts have won six of the last seven meetings with Tennessee, but all but one of those victories came with Peyton Manning under center. With the Houston Texans holding a healthy lead in the division, Sunday’s matchup will be pivotal for both teams in the race for a playoff spot in the wide-open AFC.
Indianapolis Colts (3-3): While Robert Griffin III is getting much of the hype, Andrew Luck is justifying his selection as the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, becoming the first rookie quarterback history to pass for more than 1,500 yards and win three of his first six games.
Luck threw for a season-low 186 yards but he ran for a pair of touchdowns and the Colts piled up a season-high 148 yards on the ground to edge the Browns. Rookie Vick Ballard had a career-high 84 yards last week and could make a third consecutive start if Donald Brown is not recovered from his knee injury. Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne is leading the AFC with 111 yards per game.
Tennessee Titans (3-4): Chris Johnson broke out of his season-long doldrums, rushing for 195 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Buffalo. Johnson had been held to 24 yards of fewer in four of the team’s first five games.
Matt Hasselbeck threw for only 205 yards in his third straight start in place of Jake Locker, but he came up big on the game-winning drive, connecting with Nate Washington on a 15-yard TD pass on fourth down. The Titans need to do something to tighten up a defense that has been shredded for at least 30 points in every game but a 26-23 win over Pittsburgh. The numbers are gruesome: Tennessee ranks 25th against the run, 27th vs. the pass and is 28th in sacks.
1. The Titans will be seeking their third straight home win for the first time since 2009.
2. Indianapolis has been throttled in its two road games, losing at Chicago 41-21 and getting clubbed by the Jets 35-9.
3. Wayne needs three receptions to reach 50 for the 10th consecutive season.