Tennessee Titans (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (11-0 SU,
7-3-1 ATS), NFL Week 13, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 6, 2009, Lucas Oil
Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind., TV: CBS
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Titans +6.5/Colts -6.5
Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans put their five-game winning
streak on the line against the best team in the AFC, the undefeated Indianapolis
Colts, in their home building of Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday in a
matchup of AFC South rivals.
The Titans continued their improbable climb out of the AFC South cellar with another miracle finish orchestrated by Young in last
weeks 20-17 victory over Arizona. On 4th-and-goal with seconds
remaining Young found rookie receiver Kenny Britt with a 10-yard
strike to complete another come-from-behind ending.
The game-ending touchdown completed a 99-yard, seven-minute plus
drive that saw Young and the Titans convert three fourth-down plays
along the way. Not only does the win move the Titans just one-game
away from .500 and back on the fringes of AFC playoff talk, more
importantly the Titans believe again and who knows how far the uber-
talented and newly mature Young can lead them.
But the Titans bandwagon party may be coming for an abrupt stop. Up
this week is Peyton Manning and the undefeated Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts continued their perfect run with a victory over the fellow
AFC South rival Houston Texans, 35-27, last week in come-from-behind
style too, just not as dramatic. Manning had another ho-hum 309-yard,
three-touchdown passing day but he needed to rally the troops after
halftime to overtake the upstart Texans who jumped out to a 20-7 lead.
For those that find themselves in a wagering mood, the current point
spread in Las Vegas and at most offshore sportsbooks shows the Colts
as 6.5-point favorites. The game originally opened with the Colts as
a full touchdown 7-point favorite, but the early wagering on red-hot
Tennessee moved the line down the hook already.
The over/under total opened at 47 and has yet to move, although the
Mirage in Vegas is the only book with a 47.5 on the board.
Tennessees revival has been all about two players Young and
running back Chris Johnson. With a few zone-read running plays mixed
in from his days at Texas, Young has transformed the Titans into a
multi-dimensional running team that leads the league at 167.9 yards a
game. Johnson, who is averaging 160 yards per game and has scored
seven of his 10 touchdowns since Young took over, is emerging as a
serious challenge to Adrian Peterson as the best back in football and
is only 310 yards away from 2,000.
But the Titans offense will have to outscore the precision aerial attack of the Colts led by the elder Manning. The Colts running game averages just 87.6 yards per game (31st), but thats enough balance
for Manning and the NFLs top passing attack (305.7 ypg) because the
former league MVP is putting together a potential career-best season.
The difference between these two teams this season when compared to
last year is on defense. As in, the Colts have improved theirs to
come close to the type of defense an undefeated 11-0 team is
supposed to have, while the Titans unit has been injured and played
like a 5-6 team.
Neither team is a statistical dream on defense, since the Colts are just 16th overall (332.2 ypg) and the Titans are ranked 25th (368.2
ypg). Both are susceptible to the pass too (Indy 223.3 ypg 20th;
Tenn. 266.7 ypg 31st). The enormous difference comes in scoring
defense, where the Colts are among the league leaders at 16.7 points
per game (4th), whereas the Titans at 26.3 points are near the
leagues worst (29th).
Indy already laid a 31-9 whoopin on the Titans in Nashville back in October, the Titans fifth loss in their string of six to open the
season. But the good news for Titans fans is that these two teams
have split the season series for the past three seasons. The last
time a team swept the two-game series between these two was back in
2005 when the Colts completed the task with a 35-3 win in early
Indy has also covered the point spread in the last two meetings, but prior to that the Titans covered five straight games including three
as underdogs and twice as 7- or 7.5-point dogs (06 and 07).
The easiest money in this series has been riding on the under. The
under has cashed two in a row as well, but also 8-2 in the last 10
and 4-0 in the last four games played in Indianapolis. The under is
also 4-1 in the Colts last five versus an AFC South rival, and 6-2 in
the Titans last eight versus the AFC South.
Badgers Pick: In a game where the leagues No. 1 passing team is
going up against the 31st-ranked passing defense, lets just say we
all know how Manning and the Colts are going to plan their offensive
attack. Chris Johnson will get his yards and a few scores, but the
Titans dont have the firepower to hang in a shootout. Eat the chalk.
Take Indianapolis minus 6.5-points.