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Titans vs Colts: Keys to victory

The Titans (9-6) will be fighting for a postseason berth under the illuminating lights of the primetime stage as they head to the RCA Dome to face the defending world champion Indianapolis Colts (13-2).
Jeff Fisher’s resilient bunch has overcome many obstacles in a topsy-turvy season.
Led by a suffocating defense and a stout running game, the Titans raced to a 6-2 mark at the season’s halfway mark. A pivotal hamstring injury to Albert Haynesworth led to a three-game swoon during the month of November. A heartbreaking overtime loss to San Diego was sandwiched in between three wins that have catapulted the Titans back into the catbird position in the battle for the AFC’s final wild card spot.
The following keys to victory will be integral as the Titans pursue their first postseason birth since 2003:
Continue to ride the LenDale express
A key ingredient in the Titans’ re-emergence into the AFC playoff race has been the stellar play of LenDale White. Over the course of the last four games, White has averaged over four yards per run (4.2) en route to rushing for 371 yards on 88 carries.
In limited opportunities against the Colts during his brief career, White has been very effective running the football. In 27 career carries against the Colts, White has rushed for 147 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown. White’s ability to make his mark in the running game will be crucial to the Titans’ chances of winning this football game.
Revenge of the ex-Colts
One of the (few) consequences to winning in the NFL’s salary cap era is the inevitable roster turnover that takes place. Pivotal role players slip through the cracks as opposing teams plunder winning franchises in their attempt to upgrade their squads.
The Titans have been consistent looters of the Indianapolis Colts’ personnel. Ex-Colts David Thornton and Nick Harper were key Titan-free agent acquisitions over the last two off-seasons. Lesser talents such as Gilbert Gardner and Ben Hartsock have also made the trip from Indianapolis to Tennessee during the last two years.
Thornton and Harper stood out during the two teams’ first meeting this season. Thornton’s presence was felt all over the football field in his 13 tackle, 1 forced fumble performance. Harper accumulated 8 tackles in September’s meeting with Indianapolis, while also tipping away a Peyton Manning pass intended for Marvin Harrison on the goal line that prevented the Colts from putting the game out of reach.
The ex-Colts will need to step up once again in Sunday’s match up against their former teammates.
Don’t allow history to repeat itself
The Titans are all too familiar with this weekend’s playoff scenario. Just last season, the Titans were fighting for their playoff lives as they played host to the New England Patriots in the season’s final game. Unfortunately, the Titans’ playoff hopes were crumbled into smithereens as they fell to the Patriots 40-23.
The sting of last season’s disheartening defeat to New England should serve as a powerful motivating force as the Titans attempt to avoid a recurrence of recent history tomorrow night.