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The Titans hope of a first-round bye were dashed faster than an Antonio Brown catch. They stand at 6-4 and from here on out have an easier schedule. Their march towards the playoffs begins with a nice rebound game against the Indianapolis Colts. They defeated the Colts handily 36-22 back in October but can’t look past them this time around. Marcus Mariota is coming off of one of the worst performances in his career. He threw four picks against the Steelers. He and the rest of the Titans have a chance to rebound the week. To do that the Titans have to focus on three things.

A Titans Rebound Needed Against Struggling Colts

1. MARIOTA NEEDS TO STOP THE TURNOVERS

The Titans offense has the ability to charge down the field. The problem is they get undercut by dumb turnovers. Mariota has eight touchdowns but has thrown ten interceptions. That’s not going to cut it if the Titans hope to go deep in the playoffs. They need to rely on their running game more and run Mariota less. He is their best player and the offense needs to utilize him more effectively. By having him be a runner he takes too many shots. The more shots he takes the worse his throws will be. He needs to trust his running game and receivers so he can make better decisions.

2. The Defense Can’t Get Beat Deep

Luckily the Colts don’t have any major receivers outside of T.Y. Hilton. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is banged up and may not start Sunday. Whether it is him or back up Scott Tolzien this gives the defense a chance to rebound. Wesley Woodyard and Jurrell Casey should get a ton of pressure. Kevin Byard and the rest of the secondary should have no problem shutting down the passing game. They need to get back to generating turnovers.

3. Mike Mularkey Needs To Stop Being Conservative

The problem with the Titans offense is that it is too conservative. Yes, the power running game with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry is effective. The issue lies in the passing game as the play calling feels too vanilla. Part of Mariota’s turnover issues stems from teams cluing in on where the ball is going. Whether its Mularkey not trusting his receivers to run complex routes or a fear of mistakes, it’s hurting the Titans. He needs to get more creative, otherwise, they will be forced to use Mariota in a read option which is not ideal. The Titans have a ton of potential and Mularkey is holding them back.

If the Titans can work on these three things they should get back on track against the Colts. Next week brings another opportunity to rebound against a hobbled Texans team. The Titans have to keep pace with the Jaguars if they are to clinch the AFC South.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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