Guest of the League
July 23 Sflex Auction
FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Pivotal game could have key playoff impact for Colts, Titans

Wed Nov 27 4:38pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

Players: Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Andrew Luck, T Y Hilton, Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Jacoby Brissett, Marcus Mariota, Jonathan Williams, Derrick Henry, Marlon Mack, Lamar Jackson

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) jumps over Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon (37) as Tannehil scores a touchdown on a 21-yard run in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) gets past Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Quincy Williams (56) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)


Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) scores a touchdown on a 65-yard pass reception against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Forget the big picture,

Sure, the Indianapolis Colts understand it's a pivotal division game and the long-term ramification of Sunday's outcome every bit as much as does Tennessee.

But with the hype building and the potential of a season-changing moment increasing, the Colts are reverting to what they do best: tune it all out.

''It's hard to do that,'' linebacker Anthony Walker said. ''You want to stay the course, but I'm pretty sure it (the playoff picture) comes across everybody's television screens when you're watching. We know what we've got to do. We've got to focus on us and we've got to keep getting better.''

In less than two seasons under coach Frank Reich, Indy (6-5) has repeatedly demonstrated it can cast aside the outside noise.

When just about everyone wrote off the Colts following a 1-5 start last season, they rallied to win eight of nine before clinching a playoff spot with a 33-17 victory in Nashville that also eliminated the Titans.

After Andrew Luck retired during the preseason, the doubters discounted Indy's ability to rebound. Instead, Jacoby Brissett took over and led the Colts to a 5-2 mark.

Now, with three losses in four games knocking them out of the AFC South lead, injuries mounting and their playoff hopes in peril, the Colts are getting back to basics.

''We have a tough challenge every week,'' tight end Jack Doyle said. ''So to be looking at anything other than this week really is a disaster.''

Tennessee (6-5) understands.

The Titans played their way back into playoff position last year by winning four straight December games before losing to the Colts yet again. They have replicated that strong run by winning four of five games since benching quarterback Marcus Mariota and going with Ryan Tannehill.

They've moved into a tie for second with Indy.

And though Tannehill hasn't been much more successful against the Colts than the Titans, who have lost 14 of 16 in the series, a win Sunday would change everything.

The Colts know it and the Titans know it, despite downplaying down the significance of it.

''We definitely have to prove to ourselves that ... we can be a team that can win this division,'' Titans safety Kevin Byard said. ''I think it starts with going through the Indianapolis Colts because we haven't had much success against these guys lately.''

TANNEHILL EFFECT

The Titans scored four touchdowns in the span of six offensive plays last week. Better yet, the Titans seem to have found the offensive spark they needed in Tannehill. They have produced 842 total yards over the past two games and are averaging 29.4 points over the last five - third in the NFL during that span behind only Baltimore (39.3) and San Francisco (30.8).

Tannehill also is tied for third in the NFL with Lamar Jackson in passer rating (111.4), behind only Minnesota's Kirk Cousins (114.8) and Seattle's Russell Wilson (112.1).

DOWN, NOT OUT

The Colts will play their second straight game without running back Marlon Mack (broken right hand) and their first without Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron (ankle).

But Indy has been incredibly resilient under Reich.

Jonathan Williams got his first 100-yard game after the injured Mack left the Jacksonville game, and followed that with a second 100-yard game last Thursday at Houston, his first career start.

This week, without Ebron, Doyle is expected to get more looks and four-time Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton appears to be healthier than last week after getting some extra rest.

HENRY TIME

Titans running back Derrick Henry is 9 yards away from his second straight 1,000-yard season. He heads into this weekend ranked No. 4 in yards rushing and he's run for 1,616 yards over his last 16 games.

Last week, he rushed for 159 yards and scored two TDs just 16 seconds apart. That made him the first player to score that quickly since LaDainian Tomlinson scored twice in 16 seconds on Nov. 12, 2006, for the Chargers.

This week, he faces a defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 29 games, dating to late in the 2017 season.

Player Notes
Deebo Samuel Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel combined for just three catches for 65 yards in the NFC Championship victory against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel added two rushes for 43 yards. The Niners opened up the game with a dominant running attack and a 27-0 lead, resulting in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes. While the stat sheet was underwhelming, both aerial playmakers made the most of their opportunities, picking up chunk gains on each touch. With the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense on deck, the Niners will conceivably need to throw the ball more in the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Jan 20 10:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders failed to record a catch in the NFC Championship blowout win against the Green Bay Packers. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes, Sanders saw only a single target. The clear third option in a low-volume passing game behind standout rookie wideout Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle, Sanders has just two catches in the playoffs. Hell likely be tasked with more work in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert exploded for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. He also caught two passes for six yards. Mostert was unstoppable on Sunday, converting three rushing scores of 36, nine and 18 in the first half. He capped his evening with a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The fifth-year breakout player was the star in the Niners easy 37-20 victory and will again lead the backfield into the Super Bowl in two weeks against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 20 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just six of eight passes for 77 yards and no scores in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo had little to do but watch running back Raheem Mostert annihilate the Packers rush defense for 220 yards and four scores. With two consecutive easy victories in the playoffs, Jimmy G has attempted just 27 passes this postseason. Sledding will surely get tougher in the Super Bowl against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 7:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers on Sunday. Coleman had his shoulder popped back into place and Shanahan thinks that Coleman has a chance to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Only time will tell if the 26-year-old will be able to play against Kansas City. He ran the ball six times for 21 yards before his injury and had a season-high 22 totes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Divisional win over the Vikings. Even if Coleman plays, he'll be second fiddle to Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four scores against Green Bay. Matt Breida would spell Mostert in the backfield if Coleman doesn't gain clearance.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Jan 20 1:50pm ET

There has been buzz that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a possible landing spot for Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who will become a free agent in March. After his worst season since 2007, the aging gunslinger is unlikely to re-sign with the Bolts, and he recently moved his family from San Diego to Florida to be closer to his extended family in Alabama. The 38-year-old might have a year or two left of football in him if he continues to play, but the 2019 season showed that he's near the end of the line. Rivers would only be an option for Tampa if they choose not to bring Jameis Winston back for at least another season after he led all of football in passing yards last season.

From RotoBaller

J.J. Watt Jan 20 1:10pm ET

Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has been fired, and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver has been promoted in his place, according to league sources. Houston's defense was a liability for most of the year, especially their leaky secondary. The Texans allowed 51 points and seven straight touchdown drives to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round loss. During the 2019 season, Houston's defense allowed 388.3 yards per game (fifth worst), 267.3 passing yards per game (fourth worst), 121.1 rushing yards a game and 24.1 points per game. Getting J.J. Watt back healthy for a full season will be a start to the Texans rebounding on defense under Weaver.

From RotoBaller

Luke Kuechly Jan 20 1:00pm ET

The Carolina Panthers hired former Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow as their new defensive coordinator on Monday. Snow oversaw the defenses for Matt Rhule at both Baylor and Temple. He has 37 years of college coaching experience and has also served as a defensive coordinator at UCLA, Washington, Arizona State and Boise State. Snow coached four seasons in the NFL with the Lions from 2005 to 2008 when he worked with the team's linebackers. Snow will lead a Carolina defense in 2020 that will be without All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, who recently announced his retirement from football.

From RotoBaller

Jan 20 8:43am ET

Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is not expected back in 2020. Defensive line coach Anthony Weaver is the top candidate to replace him.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Jan 20 2:03am ET

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) has a 'good chance' to be available for the Super Bowl, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

From TheHuddle

Jaire Alexander Jan 20 12:53am ET

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander (thumb) suffered a broken thumb during the team's NFC Championship Game loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Alexander is hopeful he won't need to undergo surgery.

From TheHuddle

Green Bay Packers Jan 19 11:50pm ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense recorded one sack and allowed 37 points in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers steamrolled past Green Bay's unit for 285 rushing yards and four rushing scores. To make matters worse, they couldn't generate much pressure or any turnovers. Despite the disappointing end, the Packers defense was much improved from last year, ranking 15th in sacks with 41 as well as third in interceptions with 17. They may not be among the top defenses drafted in 2020, though they should be on every fantasy managers' radar.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Jan 19 11:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham caught four of five targets for 59 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Graham was a big disappointment this season in a year filled with disappointing tight ends. The 33-year-old put up the lowest numbers since his rookie season and never really put together a good stretch of play until very recently. Graham has one year left on his contract worth about 7.5 million dollars. Given how much of a bust he was, perhaps Green Bay cuts ties with him and goes younger at the position in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Jan 19 11:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison caught two of three targets for eight yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. There were big expectations for Allison heading into 2019 in both the real and fantasy football worlds. Unfortunately for him, he lived up to neither, failing to eclipse 50 receiving yards in all but one game all year. Green Bay, who is in desperate need of another receiver behind Davante Adams, will have a decision to make about the 25-year-old, who is an unrestricted free agent. It's hard to see Allison being back in Green Bay in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Jan 19 11:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard caught three of four targets for 36 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Lazard may not have made much noise in the two playoff games but flashed some potential in the regular season, including his first career 100-yard game. Rodgers started to develop a little chemistry with the 6-foot-4 wideout late in the season, as he looked his way 17 times in the last two contests. It would be surprising if Lazard were the number-two receiver for the Packers next year, though it still makes sense for them to bring him back in some capacity. Lazard has some sleeper potential if he's catching passes from Rodgers in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Jan 19 11:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' 87 passing touchdowns in his first 35 games, including playoffs, are the most in NFL history. His 11 passing touchdowns and 142 pass attempts without an interception to begin his playoff career are both the most on record, and he is one of just two players to have at least 250 passing yards, three or more passing touchdowns and at least 50 rushing yards in multiple career playoff games.

From TheHuddle

Raheem Mostert Jan 19 11:13pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19, becoming the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.

From TheHuddle

Davante Adams Jan 19 11:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught nine of 10 targets for 138 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Adams operated as Rodgers' safety blanket yet again, capturing 79 more receiving yards than the Packers' next leading receiver. When healthy, this is what the 26-year-old did all year, as he compiled double-digit targets in all but four games, including the playoffs. Despite missing five games, Adams still almost put up a 1000-year season. It would behoove Green Bay to put together a stronger receiver group behind the star receiver. Even if they don't, a healthy Adams should be back in the discussion as an elite fantasy wideout in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Jan 19 10:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams picked up just six rushing yards on three carries and caught two passes for one receiving yard in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Williams had a disappointing end to his season, as he failed to register at least 40 rushing yards in his last three games after eclipsing the mark in his previous three. The 24-year-old did show flashes at times of being the perfect complement to Aaron Jones. Still, it will be interesting to see if Green Bay hands the reins to Jones next year or continues to spell him with Williams. For now, consider Williams more of a handcuff option than a complement heading into 2020.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 19 10:23pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed six of his eight passes for 77 yards in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19. RB Raheem Mostert rushed 29 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns and caught two passes for six yards, and RB Tevin Coleman rushed six times for 21 yards. WR Deebo Samuel caught two passes for 46 yards and rushed twice for 43 yards, TE George Kittle caught his only target for 19 yards, and WR Emmanuel Sanders was held without a catch on one target. DE Joey Bosa and DL Arik Armstead both recorded a sack.

From TheHuddle