Week 8: Colts, Titans preview

The Sports Xchange
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Indianapolis at Tennessee

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at LP Field, Nashville - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 712

*TV announcers: Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker

*Keys to the game: The Titans plan to restore Jake Locker as their starting quarterback barring setbacks with his left shoulder. He's been out since mid-September and has separated the shoulder twice. He returns to an offense that has shifted gears with RB Chris Johnson having produced two vintage performances in a row, including 104 yards and two touchdowns on his first five carries last week at Buffalo - although he still has too many negative runs for the coaches' liking. With three victories by four or fewer points, the Colts aren't equipped to survive turnovers. Until they develop a more capable rushing attack, QB Andrew Luck has been the Colts' most dangerous rushing threat, as shown in his multiple red-zone rushing TDs last week. Donald Brown (knee) might be back this week, but the offensive line has its hands full against the Titans' agile front four. Luck's accuracy and the Titans' humdrum pass rush invite interim coach Bruce Arians to air it out in the first quarter to set up more balance with RBs Vick Ballard, Delone Carter and possibly Brown.

*Matchup to watch - Colts TEs Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener vs. Titans' defense: Luck has targeted WR Reggie Wayne 13.5 times per game this season. He's increasingly looking to his rookie tight ends, and the Titans haven't matched up well with inside receivers and tight ends all season.

*Player spotlight - Colts LB Pat Angerer: The sparkplug who had 148 tackles in 2011 came back from a nagging foot injury last week to help hem in Browns RB Trent Richardson. Angerer had 22 total tackles, one forced fumble and one interception against the Titans last season.

*Fast facts: Johnson had zero rushes of 20 or more yards in the first six games. He had carries of 25, 27 and 83 yards last week. ... At 3-3, the Colts have exceeded their 2011 win total.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Titans are back in the thick of things with back-to-back wins. If they can avoid an extended adjustment period re-acclimating to Jake Locker and Chris Johnson's rebirth is the real deal, Tennessee holds off the Colts.

*Our pick: Titans 25-24

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