(6-6, 6-5-1 ATS)
(5-7, 5-7 ATS)
The season very well could be on the line for both the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans on the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football. The two are both on life support right now, and though both could still get the job done even with a defeat, both will feel a heck of a lot better putting some added pressure on the Jacksonville Jaguars in what appears will be just a one bid division for the playoffs.
We could go on for days and days talking about what’s wrong with the Colts right now. One problem won’t be able to be fixed. There are just too many injuries on this team. Too many receivers, too many running backs, too many members of the secondary, and too many interior linemen on both sides of the ball are out of the lineup, and it has really caused for a number of imposters posing as traditional Super Bowl contenders to get into uniform. The second problem is that QB Peyton Manning just cannot hang onto the football. Look, we love Manning to pieces and we know that he is absolutely a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer when his time comes to be called to Canton. However, he has thrown 11 picks in his last three games combined, and he is clearly just forcing too much. RB Joseph Addai is once again out of the lineup this week, but an old friend is back in the form of RB Dominic Rhodes. Is Rhodes the key to establishing a ground game? One thing is for certain, and that’s if Manning can’t get some running back going, this Tennessee defensive line is secondary are going to be licking their chops about the idea of making life on “The Sheriff” a living hell.
Tennessee has its share of problems right now though, as well. The team just cannot run the football to save its life, something that seems like an impossibility when you have RB Chris Johnson in your backfield, while QB Kerry Collins has yet to find any level of success as a starting quarterback. There have been three different starting quarterbacks over the last three weeks for the Titans, and none of the three have been able to find the end zone. Tennessee has just six points scored in its last two games, all six of which came last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. No Titan has crossed the end zone since Marc Mariani did it on a punt return in the first quarter three weeks ago, and the last offensive score came in the third quarter four games ago. For a team that has held three straight foes to 20 points or fewer, this is a tremendous disappointment. Tennessee was 5-2 and sitting atop the world in the AFC South before this collapse, as it has lost five straight games both SU and ATS coming into the last quarter of the season, which features four games against playoff contenders, including two against these Colts.
The thing that we love about Manning is going to be his undoing on Thursday. The signal caller just doesn’t have any fear and he feels like he can beat any team in the NFL by himself. That just won’t be the case on Thursday night. Johnson will get the rock going on the ground for the Titans, and if he does that, Tennessee will be find. Indy isn’t going to be able to stop him, which will magnify any mistakes that Manning and the offense makes. The hosts are going to survive with a ‘W’ on Thursday.
NFL Free Pick: Tennessee Titans +3