The Indianapolis Colts (3-3) will be on the road this weekend against the rival Tennessee Titans (3-4) in search of their first away win of the season.
Indy holds a half-game lead over Tennessee in the AFC South division entering Week 8, but can fall from second to third in the division with a 10th straight regular-season road loss on Sunday afternoon in Nashville.
Meanwhile, the Titans have won two in a row after a dismal 1-4 start to the year. A win would have Tennessee back in striking distance of division-leading Houston. The Texans hold a three-game lead on the Titans but are on a bye in Week 8.
Here we get you set with everything you need to know for Sunday's divisional showdown at LP Field.
Where: LP Field, Nashville, TN
When: Sunday, October 28 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Listen: 97.1 FM (Indianapolis), 104.5 FM The Zone (Nashville)
Live Streaming: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Line: Titans (-3.5), according to Covers.com.
What's At Stake?
Second place in the AFC South is at stake in Week 8. A win for the Colts would put them two games back of Houston for the division lead, while a Titans victory would drop Indianapolis to third in the AFC South and elevate Tennessee into second place just two and a half games back of Houston.
The Colts and Titans split the season series in 2011, with each team winning at home.
Colts Injury Report (according to USA Today)
DE Cory Redding (Knee), questionable for Sunday
NT Martin Tevaseu (Ankle), questionable for Sunday
DT Fili Moala (Knee), questionable for Sunday
RB Donald Brown (Knee), out until early November
DE Robert Mathis (Knee), out until early November
LB A.J. Edds (Knee), out for season
LB Scott Lutrus (Knee), out for season
G Justin Anderson (Undisclosed), out indefinitely
G Seth Olsen (Knee), IR
DT Brandon McKinney (Knee), IR
WR Griff Whalen (Foot), IR
WR Austin Collie (Knee), IR
Titans Injury Report (according to USA Today)
LB Colin McCarthy (Ankle), questionable for Sunday
DB Tommie Campbell (Ankle), questionable for Sunday
T Mike Otto (Knee), questionable for Sunday
T Michael Roos (Appendix), doubtful for Sunday
QB Jake Locker (Shoulder), doubtful for Sunday
S Markelle Martin (Knee), out until late October
C Eugene Amano (Tricep), out for season
RB Javon Ringer (Knee), out indefinitely
WR Marc Mariani (Leg), out indefinitely
LB Zac Diles (Ankle), IR
DE Keyunta Dawson (Hamstring), IR
DE Dave Ball (Concussion), IR
LB Gerald McRath (Knee), IR
Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em and Sleeper
Start 'Em: Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts, RB
Former fantasy unknown Vick Ballard had a breakthrough last week against the Cleveland Browns. Ballard rushed for 84 yards on 20 carries, earning some quality points for some bold owners. This weekend, Ballard will be pitted against the NFL's 25th-ranked run-stopping unit in Tennessee.
The potential for another big day from the rookie rusher is certainly there in Week 8.
Sit 'Em: Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans, WR
Tennessee's Kenny Britt has been nearly nonexistent this season and don't expect him to breakout on Sunday against the Colts. Indy ranks seventh in the NFL defending the pass and will make it their mission to keep Britt under wraps.
Through five games this season he has just 17 receptions for 175 yards and a score.
Sleeper: Donnie Avery, Indianapolis Colts, WR
The under-the-radar Colts wide receiver has been targeted consistently by quarterback Andrew Luck this season, including six times last week against the Cleveland Browns. In two road games this season, Avery has a combined seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Tennessee ranks 27th in the NFL defending the pass and should provide Avery with plenty of opportunities to make plays this weekend.
Picking up Avery shouldn't be hard either, because the fifth-year wideout is only owned in roughly 13 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues.
What They're Saying
Colts beat writer Mike Chappell delivers a unique and telling statistic on Andrew Luck's rookie season via Twitter:
Chappell (@mchappell51) October 22, 2012
Luck's stellar rookie season is being overshadowed by the success of Robert Griffin III, but neither RG3 nor Peyton Manning have done what Luck has through his first six NFL games.
As for the Titans, after his incredible performance against the Bills in Week 7, Chris Johnson is already back in the mix of top running backs this season according to the Titans' official Twitter account:
From zero to hero in 60 minutes. What a difference a week makes in the NFL.
Colts Player to Watch
Reggie Wayne has been making it look easy for years in the NFL, and the veteran wide receiver is doing it again in 2012. The 33-year-old leads the Colts in receiving and is on pace to record his eighth career 1,000-yard receiving season.
Wayne has been targeted a remarkable 81 times in six games this season, and boasts 47 receptions for 666 yards and two touchdowns with 10 games still left to play.
Watching Reggie Wayne is always a pleasure, and that won't change this weekend in Nashville.
Titans Player to Watch
After a season-best 195-yard performance from Titans running back Chris Johnson last weekend, all eyes will be on the underachieving fantasy star in Week 8. Johnson recorded just his second 100-yard rushing game of the season in Week 7 at Buffalo, and found the end zone for the first time in 2012.
Now that he's back to averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season, NFL fans will have plenty reason to watch him on Sunday against the Colts.
The key matchup in Nashville this weekend will be that between Chris Johnson and the Colts' run-stoppers.
Indy ranks just 26th defending the run this season, and has struggled to play any defense away from home in 2012. In two road games against the Bears and Jets, the Colts have surrendered 76 total points and 366 total rushing yards.
With Johnson coming off a near 200-yard performance a week ago, the Titans should have a significant edge in this week's key matchup.
On the Hot Seat
Titans coach Mike Munchak desperately needs his team to win at home in Week 8 in order to get them to .500 for the first time in 2012. Division games are always vital to regular-season success, but are virtual must-wins at home.
Munchak can't afford his squad to fall to 0-2 in the division, especially with four of their last six games being played against AFC South competition. Munchak's seat won't be scorching this weekend, but it'll heat up fast if Tennessee lays an egg at home against Indy.
After watching Chris Johnson come to life against Buffalo in Week 7, and knowing how terrible the Colts are on the road this season, I can't help but love the Titans in this matchup. Tennessee has won two in a row overall and two straight at home. With such a distinct advantage on the ground offensively, this game is the Titans' to lose in Week 8.
Titans 27, Colts 17
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