NFL Week 14 Featured Game
Storylines: Would you believe it if I told you that the Texans may have locked up a playoff spot, but the Colts still might have an opportunity to clinch the AFC South title? Indianapolis plays Houston twice in the remaining four weeks and if they run the table and Houston loses to New England or Minnesota, Andrew Luck will have delivered not only a playoff appearance but a division title in his first season. However, any title aspirations the Colts have must start this week with a win over a Titans team that is seeking revenge for their Week 8 overtime loss to Indy. Can Tennessee play spoiler or will Luck & Co. roll?
- There’s No Place Like Home: The stats don’t lie…rookie quarterback Andrew Luck’s QB rating at home is 86.1 and nearly 20 points higher than his road rating. Most importantly though Luck has tossed only 3 interceptions in six games at Lucas Oil Stadium in comparison to 9 touchdowns. Additionally, the Colts are 5-1 at home this season, though their average margin of victory is only 4 points.
- Horses Defend Better in Barns: Indianapolis’ defense may be ranked 21st in the league, but at home the Colts are a tad more stout allowing only 334 ypg and 19 ppg. Both numbers would place Indy’s defense in the league’s Top 10.
- Not So Titan Like: Tennessee’s defense is currently ranked 27th in the league allow an average of 386.9 ypg and 22.4 ppg. However, against Top 10 offenses this season the Titans defense is allowing over 431 ypg and 33 ppg (ouch). The team 1-3 in those games with the solo win coming against the Lions.
- Johnson Can’t Ride a Horse: Though he isn’t scoring much Chris Johnson is statistically having a satisfactory season for the Titans. However, Johnson hasn’t had the greatest success on the road against Indy. In three games the running back is averaging only 69 yards on the ground and 3.3 ypc. Over the pass four seasons, Tennessee is 1-13 when Johnson rushes for 83 yards or less and 2-11 when he fails to average over 4 ypc.
- Who Doesn’t Hate Traveling?: Although he was draft last season, Sunday’s game will only be Jake Locker’s 8th start as a quarterback in the NFL. In four road starts this season the Titans are 1-3 with Locker under center. He’s completing only 50.5% of his passes, averaging a mere 139 ypg passing with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. However, Locker did perform well in relief of Matt Hasselback last year in Indy completing 68.8 of his passes and throwing for a touchdown.
- Jerry Gray vs Bruce Arians: Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is 0-2 lifetime against Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians with his defenses allowing no few than 431 yards in each game. Throughout his career when Gray’s defenses allow 431 or more yards in a game the team his is coaching has lost 9 out of 10 times.
- The Rivalry: Since both teams joined the AFC South, the Colts have won 8 of 10 regular home games against the Titans. The averaged margin of victory in Indy’s wins has been nearly 17 points and 8 of the games have failed to clear the current over/under line.
Keys to Victory: Given that it’s a divisional game and the fact the Titans have the ability to play spoiler, you have think that there is a possibility that Tennessee will show up like they did in their surprise win over the Dolphins in Week 10. However, with inexperienced and underperforming Locker starting under center, they’ll need a monster day from Chris Johnson who averages 20 yards less per game indoors and has been terrible in his last two games at Indy. That said if Johnson can eclipse the century mark, then the Titans might keep things competitive as they are 14-5 when the running back does so on the road.
To keep the running game alive though, Tennessee will have to slow down Indianapolis’ offense and Andrew Luck. To do so they’ll need to not only shutdown the run and regularly pressure Luck, but also rely on MLB Colin McCarthy and CB Ryan Mouton to improve on defense. In the Week 8 loss both players allowed an average of over 13 yard per catch to players they were covering and Luck will surely be keeping an eye on who these defenders are covering.
Overall, the Colts have the momentum, better players on offense, and home field advantage. Really no reason to believe that they won’t extend their current winning streak to three games.
Line: IND -5.5, 48 o/u
Three straight weeks of disappoint have been a killer to what was a solid season…
Overall Record: 22-17 (56.4%)
- W-L: 8-5
- Line: 8-5
- O/U: 6-7
Beerbecue’s Beer Recommendation
Our friend/guru on all things related to beer, Mr. Beerbecue provides his biased, informative, and entertaining recommendation for your football fix. Check out all of his illuminating beer reviews at beerbecue.com.
Founders Dirty Bastard (Grand Rapids, MI)
This week was tough. I have a cold, and I had no idea what beer to do. I would do a Three Floyd’s brew (Munster, IN) if I could get my grubby biscuit-snatchers on any. Oh well.
Dirty Bastard is a Scotch Ale, so in honor of the unruly Scots-Irish of Eastern Tennessee, let’s do this thing. I have said before that Dirty Bastard smells and tastes like the morning after a Heath Bar and a Medjool Date went on a scotch bender and made some bad decisions together (this is a good thing…albeit awkward for the Heath Bar and date). Toffee, dark fruits, a little chocolate, and slight smoke gracing the palate, reminiscent of still fires, meth labs, and the Great Smokey Mountains. Kilt koozie optional.
Tennessee Food Recommendations
For food recommendations from The Volunteer State you don’t have to go any further than Amy the Fearless Homemaker, my favorite blogger from Nashville. So start out your gameday with a few apple cinnamon donuts and work your way towards some slow cooker delivered shredded chicken tacos. Click on the image or titles to view each recipe.
Indianapolis Food Recommendations
Indiana’s culinary claim to fame is the breaded pork tenderlion sandwich, so of course I have to include our rendition of this specialty…betcha can’t each just one. And no gameday is complete without out some sweets from our blogging friend and Colts/Packers supporter Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake…I know that I couldn’t eat just one of her caramel brownies. Click on the image or titles to view each recipe.
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