We’ve made it, folks. You know what time it is.
It’s the final countdown people. In T-minus 24 hours, the Colts will be playing in, essentially, a playoff game. Their opponent is the wildly inconsistent Tennessee Titans who have been playing good football, as of late. If the Colts win, they make the playoffs and live to fight another weak on the furious road to the Super Bowl. If they lose, it will mark the end of their journey. Win or lose, this season was highly unexpected, as compared to preseason prognostications for this Colt team by mainstream media. From their backs against the wall to the playoffs in 10 weeks, all the Colts need is to go 1-0 one more time.
WR Daurice Fountain (Ankle)
C Ryan Kelly (Neck)
TE Eric Ebron (Concussion/Knee)
S Clayton Geathers (Knee)
CB Nate Hairston (Hip)
WR T.Y. Hilton (Ankle)
WR Dontrelle Inman (Shoulder)
WR Zach Pascal (Knee)
DE Jabaal Sheard (Teeth/Knee)
LB Matthew Adams (Groin)
T Anthony Castonzo (Knee)
G Mark Glowinski (Ankle)
WR Ryan Grant (Not Injury Related)
TE Ryan Hewitt (Foot)
S Malik Hooker (Hip)
LB Darius Leonard (Ankle)
CB Chris Milton (Foot)
LB Anthony Walker (Shoulder)
CB Quincy Wilson (Calf)
OLB Brian Orakpo (Elbow)
QB Marcus Mariota (Neck/Foot)
WR Corey Davis (Hamstring)
OLB Sharif Finch (Shoulder)
WR Tajae Sharpe (Ankle)
Derrick Henry vs Colts’ Front Seven
Through the first 13 weeks of the season, Derrick Henry’s season could only be described as disappointing. He’d only amassed five touchdowns and 483 rushing yards. But all of a sudden, Henry exploded on Thursday Night, pounding Jacksonville for 238 yards and four touchdowns, unleashing his potential and winning many fantasy leagues. Over the last three games, Henry has rushed for more yards (492) than in the first 13 games this season. Henry is an explosive outside runner who meshes perfectly with Matt LaFleur’s Shanahanian offense.
Matching up with Henry in the other corner, the Colts feature a run defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. That number is a tad misleading since teams have rushed for over 100 collectively but holding a myriad of star ball carriers, from Saquon Barkley to Zeke Elliot, relatively in check is impressive. The Colts need to continue this trend in order to take the Titan offense off schedule and force Marcus Mariota to win.
Colts’ Receivers/Tight Ends vs Titans’ Secondary
In the Colts’ 38-10 bludgeoning of the Titans six weeks ago, T.Y. Hilton shredded the Tennessee secondary for 155 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches. The Titans had no answer for Hilton’s speed, quickness, and route running acumen. From back shoulders to deep posts, Hilton had his way with the likes of Adoree’ Jackson and Malcolm Butler.
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The receiver with the second most yards in that game was Jack Doyle, who is out for the season. Eric Ebron did not catch a single pass against the Titans, although his production was not needed on that day. However, playing in Tennessee in primetime, Ebron will need to step up and provide another weapon for Andrew Luck.
There is a chance this is my last game preview of the season, which would be bittersweet. I had a blast covering the Colts for my second season and am thankful that I was able to share it all with you. If this is the end, I am proud of the Colts and excited to run it back for my third season. For the record, I am 9-6 in my pregame predictions this season. I missed Cincinnati, Washington, Houston x2, Jacksonville, and New York Jets.
Hoping to improve my record and that of the Colts to 10-6, I am fairly confident the Colts will win this game and this will not be my final game preview, whether Marcus Mariota plays or not.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.