First off, Merry belated Christmas, and Happy Holidays to everyone. We hope that yours were filled with joy and spent with those you love.
Instead of a Titans/Colts game preview this week, we are going to preview the big hockey match that will take place here in just a few hours at the Sommet Center, as the Nashville Predators host the hated division rival, league-leading and defending Stanley Cup champion, Detroit Red Wings. The Predators currently sit at 3rd in the division with 36 points, and 9th in the conference, just one point out of a playoff spot. This also is he first of six meetings with the Wings, and Nashville typically plays them close (especially at home) so for Predators fans, it certainly is a nice gift the day after Christmas.
Ok, so we’re not really going to do a Preds/Red Wings game preview, but the game between the Titans and Colts on Sunday certainly doesn’t hold the playoff implications that many thought it might (ironically, for either team) when the schedule was announced in the off-season. The Titans locked up the division a while ago, and with Indy’s comeback win in Jacksonville last week, the Colts locked up the fifth seed in the playoffs as one of the two wild-card teams. Both coaches have said all along that they plan to approach this game like any other, but the Titans trying to avoid any further injury to their starters, and the Colts already banged up, chances are they both play this one cool. Safety first football fans…
Titans Passing Offense vs. Colts Defense:
In keeping with the holiday theme, I bet that if you asked most Titans fans to sum up the season so far in one word, many would probably say “surprise”. This season has been full of them, one being the steady hand (and play) of backup QB-turned started Kerry Collins. After Vince Young went down with an knee injury in week 1, and then out into LalaLand for the next few weeks, the Titans made the bold move of giving Collins the keys to the kingdom until further notice. All Collins has done since then is guide this team to a league best 13-2 record, and the number one seed in the AFC Playoffs. It hasn’t always been pretty, but the bottom line is that the savvy old veteran has got er’ done! gotten it done. On Sunday though, Young should take over for Collins at some point (probably at some point in the second quarter or after the half) and will be asked to run the offense once again. As irrelevant as this game may be towards the standings, Titans fans need to know where Young is at and if he is capable of leading this team if (God forbid) something were to happen to Collins. As well as Collins has played this year, the fact of the matter is that Kerry ain’t no spring chicken at 36 (he’ll be 37 on the 30th of this month. Happy early Birthday Kerry Michael!). If he were to miss a portion of time, can Vince seamlessly take over? Probably not at this point, but if Tavaris Jackson has taught us anything about young QB’s of a similar mold, it is that some time and perspective (albeit from a much different angle) on the game can change a lot of things. I actually think that Young plays some significant minutes and that, while it may be rough going out of the gate, he will settle down and play well. To do so though, he needs to play confident and loose, but really, he just needs to go out there and hae some fun.
Edge: Who knows?
Titans Rushing Offense vs. Colts Defense
If Kerry Collins has been the steady hand at the helm of this Titans team, then the two-headed behemoth of “Smash & Dash” would have to be the backbone. The duo of Chris Johnson, the rookie and superstar-in-the-making, and LenDale White, the tough as nails back that gets those tough yards and has a nose for the endzone, have combined for almost 2,000 yards on the ground (1,976) and 25 total touchdowns. Not bad. Well, don’t expect to see the two to play much more than a half combined against the Colts, with LenDale probably getting the bulk of the carries between the two, in hopes of keeping “Twitch” fresh since he has never played this many games before. All is not lost here though, as the running game is one of the two areas that the Titans truly scare people with their depth. Most in the league don’t know our second-string RB Quinton Ganther, but you can expect to get a heavy dose of both him and FB Ahmard Hall against the Colts on Sunday. The second year pro has been on Titan Sized’s radar since training camp, and in the limited time that we have seen Ganther this season (weeks 12 & 13), he has run the ball and caught passes out of the backfield well. Against a 23rd ranked Indianapolis defense, he would have just as good a shot as any backup to preform well. Against the 23rd ranked rushing defense’s backups, Ganther and Hall should be able to move the ball.
Colts Passing Offense vs. Titans Defense:
Did you know that Jim Sorgi lettered in three different sports in high school? Did you know that he’s got a career NFL passer rating of 90.4? Did you know that Sorgi co-holds the record for most TD’s thrown in a game (5) for the Wisconsin Badgers? (thanks wikipedia) Alright, probably not. Do you care now that you know? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Another side-note from training camp, which was pretty funny (at least to me): We’re standing around at training camp (about to pass out from dehydration), and overhear a father talking to (presumably) his teenage son about Jim Sorgi, and his (on the field) exploits in high school. Jim Sorgi was pretty special. So the son thinks it over for a few moments and appears to be disappointed that Sorgi is “only” a back-up in the NFL, as if every player great player in high school is assured a starting NFL job (or any NFL job, or a spot on a Division I team, etc.). I’m guessing the kid wasn’t allowed to watch Married With Children growing up.
Edge: Titans-for whatever that’s worth.
Colts Rushing Offense vs. Titans Defense:
So it looks like the Titans will either be hosting the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Denver Broncos or San Diego Chargers in their first game of the playoffs. That’s simple enough, isn’t it? Obviously, some of those teams won’t be in the post-season at all, but there are your possibilities. So who would you want to play, if given the choice?
I’m assuming that most Titans fans would love to see the struggling Jets (for a few obvious reasons), or either of the less than dominant AFC West candidates. Indianapolis would be interesting, as it would give the Titans a chance (presumably) to beat the Colts three times in one season, and who wouldn’t love that. New England (like the Jets) would need some help (plus a playoff win) to even be in the conversation, but I do know that people don’t ask to see Bill Belichick in January, regardless of the situation. The Baltimore Ravens are an interesting candidate, for a number of reasons, but we’ll let that go until/if that becomes the match-up.
Edge: Truthfully, I don’t remember the question
Rob Bironas. That’s pretty much what this section has come down to.
Kid gloves. Don’t get hurt.
Edge: Not Applicable
We have absolutely no real idea of who will play what minutes. As long as every Titan stays healthy, we don’t really care. If nothing else, VY is better than Jim Sorgi, and we’ll pick a score for continuities sake.
Pick: Titans 24-13
Tags: AFC Playoffs Ahmard Hall Baltimore Ravens Bill Belichick Chris "Twitch" Johnson Chris Johnson Christmas Detroit Red Wings Indianapolis Colts Jim Sorgi Kerry Collins LenDale White Married With Children Nashville Predators Nashville TN New England Patriots New York Jets Quinton Ganther Rob Bironas San Diego Chargers Smash & Dash Sommet Center Tennessee Titans Titan Sized Vince Young Wisconsin Badgers