NFL Football

33
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Indianapolis 7 10 7 9 33
Tennessee 0 10 7 0 17
17
5:20 PM PT6:20 PM MT7:20 PM CT8:20 PM ET1:20 GMT9:20 6:20 PM MST8:20 PM EST7:20 PM CT5:20 UAE (+1)20:20 ETNaN:� , December 30, 2018
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee  Weather: 53°, Clear  Attendance: 68,978

Winner of Colts-Titans game gets playoff berth

According to STATS
According to STATS

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

  1. The Colts beat the Titans at home in Week 11, 38-10, their second-largest margin of victory this season. If either team wins this game, it will secure the second Wild Card spot in the AFC -- a tie is the only scenario that could see both of these teams miss the playoffs.
  2. Indianapolis has won three straight and eight of its last nine after opening the season 1-5. In the Super Bowl Era (since 1966), only two of 175 (1.1 percent) of teams to start a season 1-5 have made the playoffs (2015 Chiefs and 1970 Bengals).
  3. Tennessee has won four straight overall and has gone 6-1 at home this season. If the Titans win to finish 7-1 at home, it will tie their second best home win percentage (done six times total, most recently in 2008), and will trail only the 1999 Titans who went 8-0 at home in the regular season before eventually falling to the Rams, 23-16, in Super Bowl XXXIV.
  4. The Titans have won two of their last three games versus the Colts after losing the previous 11 matchups. Andrew Luck has gone 10-0 against the Titans in his career -- he is one of two Super Bowl Era QBs to maintain a perfect record versus a team with a minimum of 10 starts (Elway, 10-0 vs. NE).
  5. Luck has thrown for 4308 yards and 36 touchdowns this season, his second 4000-yard/35-TD season -- he is the only Colts QB to do this more than once. The other QBs with multiple such seasons all-time are Drew Brees (4), Peyton Manning (4, 3 with Den), Aaron Rodgers (3), Tom Brady (3), Dan Marino (2) and Kurt Warner (2).
  6. Derrick Henry has topped 80 rush yards in each of his last three games -- his season high before this span was 58 (Week 10 vs. NE). The Titans have won all of Henry's six career 80-plus-yard rushing games.
Team Comparison

Indianapolis
 
Tennessee
26.7 Points 19.5
287.3 Pass Yds 206.0
104.0 Rush Yds 128.7
23 Takeaways 15

The situation will be simple when the Indianapolis Colts face the Tennessee Titans Sunday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.

The winner of the game gets a playoff berth. The loser is out.

"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 first-year head coach Frank Reich said. "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."

Both teams are 9-6, but Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has owned the Titans since he entered the league. He is 10-0 against the AFC SouthDivision rival, but Luck noted this week that the past doesn't have any impact on this game.

"No, it doesn't matter," Luck said. "We talk about going 1-0 this week, the cycle starts over. What happened previously, what happened in previous years, it doesn't matter, what happened last weekend, it does not matter."

The Colts have climbed from a 1-5 hole to win eight of their last nine games for a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

That run includes a 38-10 victory over the Titans on Nov. 18, when Luck completed 23 of 29 passes for 297 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and his team are not focusing on Luck's dominance over Tennessee, though.

"I don't think they are looking at that too much this week. I don't think so," Vrabel said. "I think they are looking at it as two good teams that are fighting to try to find a way to get into the playoffs. I don't think we can look at it any other way than that.

"We understand that he's a great quarterback. They've got good players and it will be a big challenge for us to try to defend them. For us on offense, it will be important for us to try to do a little better than we did last time against them."

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota had to leave that game against Indianapolis in the second quarter with an elbow injury, and there are questions as to whether Mariota will play on Sunday.

He left Saturday's win over the Washington Redskins with a neck stinger, and backup Blaine Gabbert rallied the Titans to a 25-16 win.

Mariota was held out of Wednesday's practice, but still hopes to start Sunday's game.

"I just want to make sure we have the best option to win," Mariota said. "I'm going to do everything in my power to be available, so that when it's all said and done, if I'm able to be out there, I'm giving it my all. All I want is this team to win. However I can do that, however I can help, I'm going to find a way to do that."

The Titans will rely on their running game, with 6-foot-3, 247-pound running back Derrick Henry being the chief ball-carrier.

"He's so big," Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard said of Henry. "He's a huge guy and he's got great cut-back ability and his stiff-arm is pretty good. Just got to make him stop his feet. I think we will be fine from there."

Henry has rushed for 966 yards this season, with 492 of those yards coming in the past three games. But he had only 46 yards on nine carries in the earlier game against the Colts.

"There is no doubt we all know they want to run the football," Reich said. "I mean, (Henry) is an elite back, they run the football extremely well. They are good up front, so no doubt preparing to stop that running game is a big-time priority."

The Titans have won four in row, and their strength is their defense. Tennessee is second in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 18.0 points per game, and they have not yielded more than 16 points in any of their past three games.

However, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, a four-time Pro Bowl pick and the Titans' best defensive player, suffered a knee injury against the Redskins and was placed on injured reserve.

Updated December 26, 2018

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