Colts vs Titans: Keys to the Game Preview

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Dec 28, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) signals from the line against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts are looking to overcome a 0-2 start for the second year in a row. They are on the road in Nashville to take on their first divisional foe of the season, the Tennessee Titans.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has admittedly struggled the past two weeks. Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star asked Andrew Luck how much if any he is to blame for their offensive woes. Luck’s response, “One hundred percent,” he continued. “I have to improve. There are no excuses.” The Colts are suddenly facing a must-win game if they want to get their season back on track. Sure the Colts were 0-2 last year and made the playoffs with an 11-5 record, but this 0-2 sure feels different.

= Related: Colts Game-by-Game Predictions =

To put it nicely, Andrew Luck has not played like Andrew Luck. The NFL universe has been shaken to its very core by the atypical play of the Colts quarterback. Much of this can be attributed to the offensive line which has failed to give Luck anything resembling a clean pocket to throw in. Facing a blitz on nearly 50% of his snaps, Luck is 47 of 86 for 3 touchdowns and five interceptions. Luck also fumbled the ball on a scramble against the Jets. Currently, Luck leads the league in turnovers. Look for the offensive line to see changes if the line continues to struggle today.

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Andrew Luck and the Colts face an improved Tennessee Titans defense compared to a year ago. Led by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, the Titans will also look to dial up the pressure on Luck like the Jets and Bills did. The defensive roster for the Titans may not have as many weapons as the Bills or Jets, but they can create tons of confusion for a quarterback in LeBeau’s scheme.

Injuries for the Colts will also play a factor in this game. The Colts traveled to Nashville without four starters; Trent Cole (knee), Greg Toler (neck), Darius Butler (hip) and Dwayne Allen (ankle). On the bright side, the Colts will have one of their starting cornerbacks back this week. Vontae Davis was cleared to play this week after clearing the NFL’s concussion protocols. Another positive will be the increased snaps that Robert Mathis will see with Cole out.

The Colts have had bad starts in both games so far this season. In the first half of games, the Colts have been outscored 27-0. The Colts must get out of the gate faster and put up points early in the game. Look for Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to have a new plan for their first possession. As always, the outcome of this game will come down to the individual matchups.

Next: The Titans Key Matchups