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2012 NFL Week 8 Preview: Indianapolis at Tennessee

Indianapolis vs. Tennessee

Indianapolis (3-3) travels to LP Field to take on the Tennessee Titans (3-4) on Sunday at 1pmET  (CBS). Indy is coming off a 17-13 win over Cleveland at home, while the Titans edged Buffalo on the road, 35-34 getting 4.5.  Last year: INDIANAPOLIS  (+6') over Tennessee, 27-13; TENNESSEE (-7') over Indianapolis, 27-10. 

Current Line: Tennessee (-3.5/46.5)

Weather: 54 degrees and 6% chance of rain.

Key Trends:
 Indy is: 0-4 ATS L4 as a div. road dog.
Indy is: 16-5 Over last 21 road games.
Indy is: 7-2 Over last 9 in Oct.  
Tenn is: 5-1 ATS L6 at home in series.
Tenn is: 5-11-1 Under last 17 vs. AFC South.

Key injuries: Indy: LB Pat Angerer (foot), LB Dwight Freeney (ankle), NT Antonio Johnson (illness), LB Robert Mathis (knee), DE Fili Moala (knee) are ? RB Donald Brown (knee) is dbtful. Tenn is: LB Zac Diles (ankle) is out indef. QB Jake Locker (shldr) is out. OT Michael Roos (appendix) is out 1-2 weeks. 


With quarterback Matt Hasselbeck showing great poise and Chris Johnson running strong, the Tennessee Titans have posted their first set of back-to-back wins.

They have a good chance to make it three in a row if the Indianapolis Colts can't improve on the road.

The Titans look to continue their push up the AFC South standings Sunday when the Colts go for their first win outside Indianapolis in 11 tries.

Hasselbeck is expected to make a fourth consecutive start in place of Jake Locker, who injured his left, non-throwing shoulder Sept. 30 versus Houston. Locker has started to throw in practice, but the team is still uncertain when the 2011 first-round pick will return.

Munchak's comments clearly support Locker as the starter, but Hasselbeck is making a strong case to stay under center. The veteran has led the Titans to a 2-1 mark, with both wins coming in come-from-behind fashion. After leading Tennessee to a 26-23 victory over Pittsburgh on Oct. 11 with 10 unanswered points in the final 4:19, Hasselbeck threw a 15-yard touchdown to Nate Washington on fourth down with 1:03 left in last Sunday's 35-34 win at Buffalo.

Tennessee (3-4) is still three games back of division-leading Houston, but can move ahead of second-place Indianapolis (3-3) with a Sunday win.

The possible return of Colts linebacker Robert Mathis (knee) after a two-game absence could give a defense that allows an average of 141.7 rushing yards a boost, but Johnson could be tough to slow down. The former 2,000-yard back is averaging 7.7 yards per carry over the last two games after rushing for 195 yards and two scores against the Bills. It was the third-highest run total of Johnson's career and it earned him AFC offensive player of the week honors.

Johnson has totaled 128 rushing yards with an average of 2.6 yards per carry in his last three games against the Colts.

As much as Indianapolis is relying on Andrew Luck to throw to Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery, the club understands it has to run the ball. Led by rookie Vick Ballard's 84 yards on the ground, the Colts set a season high with 148 rushing yards in last Sunday's 17-13 victory over Cleveland, to surpass last season's win total.

The Colts could add depth to their backfield on Sunday if leading rusher Donald Brown (knee) returns after missing two contests.

It would appear that facing a Titans defense giving up a league-worst 34.0 points per game would make life easier for Luck, but the No. 1 overall pick hasn't fared well in two road games, throwing one TD with five interceptions in lopsided losses to Chicago and the New York Jets.

Nine of the Colts' 12 turnovers have come in those defeats.

The Colts, who are winless on the road since Peyton Manning led them to a 31-26 victory over Oakland on Dec. 26, 2010, defeated the Titans 27-13 last December to snap an 0-13 start to the 2011 season.

Tennessee's 27-10 home win over Indianapolis on Oct. 30, 2011, ended a five-game skid in the series.

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