NFL Playoff Picture: Tennessee Titans Look to Stay Alive Versus the Indianapolis Colts

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 12/18/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Tennessee -7
Current Betting Line:  Tennessee -6.5
Opening Total:  40.5
Current Total:  41.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Tennessee Titans will try to keep their playoff hopes alive Sunday

Tennessee begins a three-game stretch against teams from the AFC South this week in hopes of staying in the playoff hunt, coming off a 22-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints as 3.5-point home underdogs.  Titans first-year head coach Mike Munchak certainly knows that his locker room needs to win its final three games to potentially qualify for the postseason, but will likely need starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to get over his minor calf injury.  Tennessee is 3-7 ATS as favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Titans snapped a five-game losing streak in this series with a 27-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts as nine-point home favorites on Oct. 30, but were out-gained by an 88-yard margin in the contest.  Tennessee needs star running back Chris Johnson to bounce back this week after gaining just 23 yards on 11 carries last week versus the Saints, especially considering he ran for a combined 343 yards and two touchdowns in the previous two weeks.  He needs 125 rushing yards for his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season.

Indianapolis is virtually a lock to receive the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft, but still has three weeks to try and avoid an 0-16 season.  “Obviously, every time you go out, you want to win,” commented Colts center Jeff Saturday.  “It’s something to build on for the future.”  The Colts will be led offensively by quarterback Dan Orlovsky for the third straight week, looking to improve upon the team’s numbers of being 31st in the league in gaining just 283.4 yards per game.  Indianapolis is 1-4 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 9 points this year, while the ‘under’ is 3-2 in that situation.

The Colts will be looking to avoid being swept by the Titans for the first time since the 2002 season, with the contest likely coming down to the defense trying to stop the Titans ground game and Johnson.  Indianapolis has limited one of the best running backs in football to just 68 rushing yards per game in six career meetings.  Indianapolis will definitely be tested on the other side of the ball in facing a defense that ranks sixth in the league in allowing just 19 points per game.

Bettors will likely back the Colts due to their 11-5 ATS mark in Week 15, while the Titans are 1-4 ATS as a road favorites.

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