Gridiron Gab Week Eight Preview – Indianapolis at Tennessee

The Tennessee Titans return home looking to extend their two-game winning streak, coming off a big road win over the Bills, in which they scored a game-winning TD in the final minute for the win.

They take on a Colts team coming off a 17-13 win over the Browns at home in a game where Andrew Luck ran in two scores for the Colts, who are 3-3 on the season.

Indy has to deal with two players on the Titans who suddenly have found their stride in running back Chris Johnson and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who continues to play for an injured Jake Locker.

Johnson has totaled 128 rushing yards with an average of 2.6 yards per carry in his last three games against the Colts. The back has rushed for 495 yards this year, putting up 4.5 yards per carry.

The possible return of Colts linebacker Robert Mathis (knee) after a two-game absence could give a defense that allows an average of 141.7 rushing yards a boost, but Johnson could be tough to slow down.

The former 2,000-yard back is averaging 7.7 yards per carry over the last two games after rushing for 195 yards and two scores against the Bills. It was the third-highest run total of Johnson’s career and it earned him AFC offensive player of the week honors.

“We can see that he can still do it,” said left tackle Michael Roos, who is questionable this weekend after undergoing an appendectomy on Monday. “And it was good for us to have a game like this with (195) yards rushing.”

The Colts can slow down Johnson by holding onto the ball more. They need to find more balance on offense, and that means a better running game and not leaning on Luck so much.

Led by rookie Vick Ballard‘s 84 yards on the ground, the Colts set a season high with 148 rushing yards in last victory over Cleveland, to surpass last season’s win total.

The Colts could add depth to their backfield on Sunday if leading rusher Donald Brown (knee) returns after missing two contests.

“It’s nice to see a little pound, some first downs, two runs in a row and three runs in a row and get those first downs,” said Luck, who is the first rookie QB with 1,500 passing yards (1,674) and three wins in a team’s first six games in NFL history. “It makes life a little easier as a quarterback.”

It would appear that facing a Titans defense giving up a league-worst 34.0 points per game would make life easier for Luck, but the No. 1 overall pick hasn’t fared well in two road games, throwing one TD with five interceptions in lopsided losses to Chicago and the New York Jets.

This will be a fun game, and will come down to seeing if the Colts can put the clamps on Johnson. The Titans are playing with confidence, and I think they will get their third in a row to get to 4-4.

Tennessee 24 Indianapolis 16



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