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Double A Breakdown: Week 8

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The Colts go up against the hot Titans in Tennessee. Andrew Luck tries to get his first ever road win, and it comes at a place where it's very tough to win, and getting colder. The Colts expect Cory Redding back, and it couldn't come at a better time as the Colts have a tough challenge against Chris Johnson, who's coming off a 195 yard performance. The battle for the #2 AFC South spot starts now.

What the Colts Need to do to Win

On offense, Andrew Luck needs to have himself a big game for them to win. We've seen time and time again that the Titans can put up 35+ points. They did it against the Bills last week and against the Lions several weeks ago. This means that the offense will most likely have to put up 25+ points. If they want to achieve that, Luck needs to play aggressively, and the play calling must be aggressive. This means deep passes, and passing it on 3rd and short. Establishing a running game is important, but in this game, the pass must be in the air 42+ times. Now, the Titans aren't exactly great against the deep ball, but they have Michael Griffin, who's a ballhawk, so avoiding him on the deep passes is pretty important, which is why the Colts should call plays with 2 or more receivers going deep. Just the little things like that. Matchup wise, Reggie Wayne has a very good matchup against Jason McCourty (if he lines up on the outside). Reggie could also go up against Tommie Campbell, and if that's the case, Luck should try and find him over the middle, and not on deep passes. Campbell is good against the deep passes. Donnie Avery has a good matchup against Alteraun Verner, but only if he goes deep. If he tries slants or drags, he'll be stopped. The tight ends will have tough matchups throughout the day, as Ayers is having a solid year against the pass (and doing very well against the run too). Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery (like every other week really) need to be the main targets on offense, and Luck should only look elsewhere if there's a good matchup, if the guy is wide open.

Then, the running game... Vick Ballard gets another start, and it comes against a bad Titans run D. If he wants to have any chance of taking over the starting job, he's going to need a big week this week. He's going to have to stay patient. Also, if and when the Colts decide to run it, it should be to the side of Zach Brown, who is not nearly as good a tackler as Akeem Ayers. Ayers will make the tackle on Ballard 9 times out of 10, whereas Brown will probably make it 6 times out of 10. That's if they run it to the outside. When up the gut, the interior lineman need to get to the 2nd level or the linebackers will get there easily. They aren't the kind of linebackers where you could get away with being late to the 2nd level. Finally, get Delone Carter some carries and Moore in on some 3rd downs and passing situations and everything should be fine there.

Finally on offense, the O-line. Pass protection shouldn't be a worry as the Titans only have 9 sacks this season and are at the bottom when it comes to pass pressure. Plus, that's been a positive for the Colts this year. The main worry should be run blocking. It's been a problem this year, but it worked last week. Both defenses are kind of similar, so run the same plays as last week. Point is, whatever worked in the running game last week, do it this week.

Then the defense.

Cory Redding is back! Thank goodness, because we need a guy who can pressure the QB, especially with Mathis out. If he's not double teamed, he's going to have to get to the QB. With him out last week, the Colts did not get any pressure up the middle, which is the main reason why they were unsuccessful in the pass rush department. The D-line must win if the Colts want any chance of stopping their offense.

As for the linebackers, they should be used in blitz. Freeman is a very good blitzer, as we saw that in the Vikings game. Pat Angerer should also see more snaps this week which is better in the pass department. Kavell Conner should be used in early downs, and Angerer in later downs. Put them in and use their strengths to stop their offense.

Then, for the secondary, Antoine Bethea shouldn't be used as much in coverage, but used in stopping the run, and Zbikowski should be put in the box and used to stop the run and occasionally defend the pass. They should also use a zone scheme, because their guys play well against man coverages, and seem to struggle against zones. Jerraud Powers plays well in zones and although Davis is better in man coverages, he still performs well in zones. Vaughn is also better in zone coverages.

The defensive gameplan should be to pressure Hasselbeck and to have a mild aggressive attack. Don't send the whole house, but having an extra guy rushing like Freeman or Conner could be benefitial.

What the Titans Need to do to WIn

On offense, the Titans must be balanced. That's extremely important. They cannot rely on one or the other. If they can't stay balanced, they won't win the game. They still ran the ball last week even though they were down by 2 scores, and it paid off for them in the end and they won. Same situation against the Lions in Week 3. They win games when they balanced. Plus, Matt Hasselbeck isn't the kind of quarterback that can throw 45+ times, he isn't used to that. He's gotten close to that mark, but it doesn't mean they'll win. They were killed by the Vikings, when he threw 44 times. They should only start going pass heavy if they've given Chris Johnson the ball numerous times and he's been stopped. If they really can't establish a ground game, maybe going pass heavy is the key, BUT this should only happen in the 2nd half (more in the 4th quarter).

Their offensive line must stop their D-line. Out of all the things the Titans must do this game, stopping their D-line is by far the most important thing. Cory Redding is most likely back, and they already have Freeney. Redding always shows up to play, and is a guy that needs to be double teamed, unless they spot a blitz.

On defense, they must play aggresively. This means: lots of blitzes and disguises. They need to get pressure on Luck. If they can, they'll be able to contain him and the Colt offense. If they can't, then they'll be able to put up 30+ points, just like the teams before them. They have allowed 34 points a week. Time to wake up. The linebackers (McCarthy, Ayers and Brown) must be the most important players on the field. They must stop the run, so that they rely on Luck, then from there, they must get to him, because the Titans like to blitz against pass heavy teams. Their aggressive game plan is the only way they can have success on defense. Conservatism won't win.

Intriguing Matchups

The most intriguing matchup in this game has to be Colts D-line vs Titans O-line. Unlike last week, there aren't that many good matchups, but this one is very interesting. Whoever wins this matchup, will affect the Titans' offensive performance. If the Colts' D-line win, then they'll most likely contain Chris Johnson, and not allowed anything big in the passing game. If the Titans O-line wins, then Chris Johnson will have full control of that offense, which could be good or bad, but we saw last week, that it could be the difference between a win and loss, and they won because of him.


Indianapolis Colts 29 vs Tennessee Titans 23

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