Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
When: 8:20 PM ET, Sunday, December 30, 2018
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
NASHVILLE – Playoffs? The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans will square off Sunday in Nashville with everything on the line. The winner will reach the playoffs and, if the Houston Texans lost at home to Jacksonville, would claim the AFC South title, while the loser goes home.
“One of the things I mentioned to the team today is, I said, ‘Hey, guys, this is a playoff game. We’ve been in that mode since we were 1-5, so that’s to our advantage,'” Colts head coach Frank Reich told the media. “We’ve been playing this kind of football. We’ve been having this kind of mentality, we were forced into it. That was the bad thing, but the good that comes out of it is we had to embrace that mindset and take hold of that mindset.” Indianapolis is in this position because of an 8-1 surge that includes a 38-10 win over Tennessee at home Nov. 18 and a comeback 28-27 victory last week over the New York Giants. Meanwhile, the Titans have strung together four wins in a row while giving up an average of 11.8 points as they look to reach the playoffs for the second straight year. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is 10-0 against Tennessee and threw for three touchdowns in the rout of the Titans last month.
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Colts -3. O/U: 43
ABOUT THE COLTS (9-6): Luck is second in the league in passing touchdowns with 36 and sixth in yards (4,308), but his top targets are banged up entering this one, with star wideout T.Y. Hilton intent on playing through an ankle injury. “I will tell you what, it’s unbelievable what he’s doing without practice,” Reich told reporters of Hilton, who has scarcely practiced for several weeks due to various ailments but has played nine games in a row. “I just think very few players could do what he’s doing. He has no mental errors when he goes out there. It’s like he doesn’t miss a beat.” Tight end Eric Ebron (concussion/knee), who ranks third in the NFL in receiving TDs with 12, is questionable.
ABOUT THE TITANS (9-6): Quarterback Marcus Mariota returned to practice Thursday after being sidelined earlier in the week due to neck and foot injuries.”He did some stuff just to make sure that we are progressing along. I think that’s the most important thing,” coach Mike Vrabel told reporters. “He didn’t take reps that he would normally take, but he took enough to feel like we can move on to tomorrow.” Regardless of the quarterback situation, the Titans will continue to rely on running back Derrick Henry, who has 532 rushing yards and eight TDs during the four-game winning streak.
1. Luck has averaged 265 passing yards and nearly two TDs per game in his 10 straight wins over the Titans.
2. Colts LB Darius Leonard leads the NFL with 155 tackles and needs six to set a franchise record for one season.
3. Mariota has just 198 total passing yards over the last two weeks and has not thrown a TD in 57 attempts over his last three games.