Titans four-fold mission
1. Pressure Peyton. During the 1999 playoffs, the Titans succeeded in rattling Manning and disrupting his rhythm. The Steelers and Redskins have both had success doing that the past two weeks. The Titans, who did not blitz Jon Kitna, will need to push the envelope against Manning.
2. Establish the run. Tony Dungy might be a defensive whiz, but his current edition of the Colts are doing their best to ransack that reputation. The Titans, no doubt, will try to get Eddie George rolling early, especially with two straight 100-yard games now to his credit.
3. Mirror Marvin. The Titans’ secondary will have its hands full trying to slow Colts receiver Marvin Harrison, who leads the AFC in catches. Most of the responsibility of keeping Harrison in check will likely fall on cornerback Samari Rolle.
4. Take the crowd out. The Titans need a big play early to establish momentum and quiet the dome crowd in Indianapolis. Not counting the retractable roof in Houston, Sunday’s game represents Tennessee’s only dome game this season. The Titans could desperately use a quick turnover vs. Indy.
Colts four-fold mission
1. Have an Edge. Edgerrin James is one of the league’s most prolific offensive weapons, but the Colts have struggled in recent weeks to get him and the running game going. They’ll need to get James about 30 touches between rushes and receptions for him to be most effective. However, a hamstring injury could have an effect.
2. Use multi-receiver sets. Most teams have tried to attack the Titans dragging them out of their base defense. Putting the Titans in sub-packages can not only create good receiver/defensive back matches for Indy, but also give James more gaps to run through.
3. Pick up the blitzes. If there is one knock on Manning, it’s that he sometimes gets “happy feet” under pressure or tries to force the issue by making an ill-conceived throw. The Colts should expect some exotic blitz schemes from the Titans and must make preparations accordingly with extra blockers and hot reads.
4. Slow the run. The Titans running game isn’t what it was when these teams met three years ago in the divisional playoffs, but it has gotten better over the past two games. The Colts still need to stifle George and try to turn the Titans into a one-dimensional team offensively.