Free NFL Pick: Tennessee at Indianapolis 01-02-2011

January 2, 2011


Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Sunday January 2nd, 2011 4:15 PM EST

Line: Indianapolis -10


This has been a disappointing year for Tennessee. It is evident that change is coming in the near future for the organization. Despite having the longest tenured coach in the league, the Titans have division between the coaching staff and locker room. It is unclear at this time exactly which changes will be made, but it is highly likely that they will occur at the top, and soon.

The Colts haven’t clinched yet. It is somewhat surprising, given that the Colts usually have the division won at this point with 12 or so wins. Fortunately, we won’t have to endure Curtis Painter this season. The Colts have won three straight, beginning with a game against the Titans. The Titans scored a touchdown in garbage time as the clock expired, making the score closer than the game actually was. Even so, the extra shot at the end was the difference in the spread. Could something similar happen this week?

Keys to the Game:

  • Somehow, in the midst of all of the injuries and problems the Colts are having this season, Reggie Wayne’s success has been lost. He is set to finish with over 100 catches and 1300 yards receiving this season. While Indianapolis has had a number of injuries this season, Wayne has remained healthy and is currently second in the league in catches. He torched the Titans in their last meeting. Expect an encore performance.
  • The Titans have to get pressure on Peyton Manning. They have the personnel to do it. Jason Babin headlines a defensive line that has enjoyed a huge amount of success when it comes to getting to the quarterback. Manning can’t be given all day to dissect a defense. He rarely gets hit, but failing to be aggressive makes it too easy on him to go through his progressions. Give him time and he will find the open man every time.

Key Matchup:

Chris Johnson Vs. Indy’s run defense

  • Chris Johnson had a big 111 yard day the last time these two teams faced each other. Johnson is 75 yards away from finishing the season with 1,400 rushing yards. It is a far cry from the 2,500 he predicted he would have, but it is still a solid season, nonetheless. With the Titans struggling in the passing game, it is likely they will resort to the run game, especially given the Colts’ struggles against the run this season.
  • The Colts allow over 130 yards a game on the ground. They will need to back off the pass coverage and focus solely on the run this week. Kenny Britt is a threat, sure, but the only way the Titans are going to be able to even sniff the end zone is on the shoulders of CJ2k. This has been a glaring need all season long and they need to address it in the offseason.

Wrap Up:

I love picking Peyton Manning this time of year. The chips are down and Manning is in a must win game at home against a division rival. While I think the Colts will win this one, I’m not sure they are going to dominate. In the back half of the season, they have yet to win a game by more than the given spread of ten. I just don’t have confidence in the Colts’ ability to blow the Titans out of the water, even though the Titans are a complete mess of a franchise at this point.

Free NFL Pick: Tennessee +10

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