The final weekend of NFL action in the regular season is upon us and it throws up a treat in the form of the Tenessee Titans against the Indianapolis Colts, in a game that effectively treats us to playoff football a week earlier than anticipated.
Unsurprisingly, users on Twitter voted the clash as the Game of the Week and we have taken a deep look into the tie. If you are curious about all of the permutations ahead of the clash, we have detailed all that here.
Derrick Henry’s influence
With 545 yards and eight touchdowns over the course of the past four games, Titans running back Derrick Henry enters the showdown with the Colts in blistering form and will aim to continue his superb run into the playoffs.
To do that, he will need to perform again but will face a tough test against a Colts defence who have limited the impact of the likes of Ezequiel Elliott in recent matches. Big name players need to perform in the big moments and Henry, having surpassed 2,000 career yards, has to show that he is capable of being a leader in the crucial moments.
Colts pressing the pass
The Titans offensive line has struggled to protect their quarterbacks this season, whether that is Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbett, and have allowed 47 sacks, the seventh-most in the NFL, while the Colts have done well against lines that have been exposed.
The Colts have secured 38 sacks in the NFL this season, nine of which have come from defensive tackle Denico Autry, and he will be optimistic of extending his numbers up against Tennessee if given the opportunity.
The playoffs are a cutthroat time of the season, where a single moment can provide the difference between celebration and embarrassment. There’s no second chances, no room to bounce back, it is simply the last man standing. With this game, it could actually prove to be an advantage.
For the winners, it is a chance to get to grips with the challenges and build a platform to build upon. It brings the playoff atmosphere early and gets the team in the mood, which could allow the opportunity to build some momentum heading into the postseason.
Not too much is expected from either of these teams in the latter stages but, with a bit of luck and some momentum, they could spring some surprises.