The NFL’s Week 6 Monday Night Football matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans is crucial for both teams. This shapes up to be a hard-fought AFC South duel for two teams battling to stay in playoff contention.
The Colts and Titans both sit at 2-3 upon the bottom of the division but only remain one game back of both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans who are 3-3.
Rumors have been churning about the availability of Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota after missing Week 5 with a bad left hamstring. He is listed as questionable for Week 6 and if he doesn’t play, the Titans will hand the keys over to Matt Cassel once again.
Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has held horseshoe nation above water while Andrew Luck has been out, but tonight is a massive opportunity for him to bring the Colts back to .500 and tie division foes Houston and Jacksonville. Brissett may only be the quarterback for a few more weeks after Luck told the Associated Press “I think we’re progressing along nicely, but I think it would be foolish to get this close to the finish line and skip a step.”
If Mariota does not play, the Titans will rely heavily on their running attack comprised of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. They each have one rushing touchdown this year while the Colts defense has given up six rushing touchdowns through five weeks to opposing running backs. If Mariota does play, they will still be run heavy, but much more passing will be involved. Pay close attention to the amount of scrambling and rushing that Mariota does with his bum left hamstring.
If Mariota does play, they will still be run heavy, but look for play-action to be a major part of the offense. Even though the Colts give up the eighth most passing yards in the league, the young secondary has improved every week. Look for the Titans to limit the amount of running and scrambling that Mariota does due to his bum left hamstring.
The Colts pass defense will look to contain Mariota inside the pocket to give the secondary the best chance at handcuffing their receivers. Tennessee receivers have combined for less than 1000-yards all season, good for third worst in the NFL.
The run defense has been more stout than years past but may lose some of its grit if inside linebacker Jon Bostic is unable to play due to a calf injury. Bostic’s 40 tackles are a big reason why the Colts run defense, in terms of yardage, has been strong in 2017.
Brissett and his offensive comrades T.Y. Hilton, Frank Gore, Marlon Mack, and the return of Jack Doyle have to step up on Monday Night and give the Titans defense a handful. The connection between Brissett and Hilton has formed, and T.Y. has leaped his way up to the league’s fifth spot in receiving yards after Week 5’s seven-catch, 177-yard performance.
The running barrage of Gore and Mack is becoming a strong duo. Gore is wearing down, but still able to do the short yardage work.
Rookie Marlon Mack impressed and excited the whole city during last week’s tilt against San Francisco when he carried the ball just nine times for 91-yards and a touchdown. Mack also burst down the sideline for a clutch 35-yard run in OT to put the Colts in field goal range and win the game.
The GOAT, Adam Vinatieri, would then ice the game with a 51-yard field goal to capture the win. Vinatieri’s 27th career game-winner pushed him to second all-time in made field goals, just 26 behind Morten Andersen‘s record.
This AFC South encounter could be one of Week 6’s best clashes and you can tune in to watch the Colts and Titans at 8:30 ET on ESPN.
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