INDIANAPOLIS – How the Colts and Titans come into this Week Seven matchup in Nashville is one of rather uncommon territory for both teams.
The Colts are 2-4 and looking up at the rest of the AFC South.
It's a position the Colts are not used to---in fourth place of the division at this point of the season for just the second time since the AFC South was created in 2002.
On the home sideline this weekend, the Titans sit 3-3 and are coming off consecutive wins for the first time since the 2013 season.
The Titans are walking different, and talking differently, too.
"Probably (the Colts) think they can come in here and beat us and get back on track," Titans tight end Delaine Walker said earlier this week.
"But this is a different team, different organization, different coaches. Our mindset is to have them come up here and we've got to put that whooping on them. That's the only way we're thinking, is get the W."
The Colts are coming off a crushing divisional loss last week in Houston.
A defeat Robert Mathis called the most gut wrenching regular season loss he's had in 14 seasons with the Colts.
For the second straight year, the Colts are trying to bounce back from a road, primetime, overtime loss.
Last year the Colts recovered by putting together their sharpest performance of 2015 in a victory over the Broncos.
They travel to Tennessee this weekend looking for similar type of magic in trying to steer the ship back on path.
"I am encouraged," Chuck Pagano said earlier this week. "You guys probably think I am crazy, but I am really encouraged because we have a group of guys and coaches that care and they will fight. There are no pity parties in this building, there are no pity parties in football. You watch the tape, make the adjustments and corrections and you move on.
"We know exactly where we are at, what is ahead of us and we will continue to prepare and work accordingly."**
INTERESTING MATCHUPSTitans run games versus the Colts defensive front: **The Colts are dealing with such a distinct run game this week. Tennessee ranks third in the NFL in rushing this season with newcomer DeMarco Murray's 698 yards from scrimmage the second most in the league. It's a banged up Indy defensive line that will have to be on top of its responsibilities this week with so many variations coming from the read-option looks of quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Colts pass catchers versus the Titans secondary: It's one of the most beat up pass catching groups Andrew Luck has ever had to deal with for a game. Yes, T.Y. Hilton is there. But with Dwayne Allen, Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief likely out, Luck will be looking to the likes of Jack Doyle, Chester Rogers and a group of guys who have barely even donned a Colts' uniform to move the chains.
- The Colts have beaten the Titans in nine consecutive games.
- Adam Vinatieri has made 41 straight field goals, one short of an NFL record (Mike Vanderjagt).
- Of the NFL's 34 tight ends with at least 12 targets this season, Jack Doyle has the highest catch percentage (87 percent, 20-of-23).
- The Titans are looking for their first three-game winning streak since 2011.
- Titans edge rusher Brian Orakpo has 7.0 sacks through six games this season.
- Former Colts receiver Andre Johnson has nine catches for 85 yards with Tennessee this year.
NOTABLE QUOTESColts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on the message to his team with 10 games remaining):
"You've got to play four quarters of football. Some games, we've started fast and didn't finish. And some games, we started slow and finished fast and pulled out a couple games. They've all been one-score games. They've all come down the wire. The Denver score doesn't look that way because of a late sack-fumble, what have you, but we've been in every football game. Again, you've got to play 60 minutes of quality football and mistake-free football as best you can. All those games could have gone the other way. They didn't. The record is what it is, and so our focus is just on our preparation and sticking to the process and putting the time in to give yourself a chance to go play quality, winning football each and every Sunday and that's what we'll continue to do."
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on why some of Andrew Luck's numbers are up from 2015):
"Well, I think you can look at a lot of different things. I just think Chud (Rob Chudzinski) is putting together good plans and they're executing. Brian Schottenheimer is doing a great job, and Andrew (Luck) is doing a great job with Andrew and making good decisions, getting the ball out and we're running the ball a little bit. We've had some success the last couple of weeks and been effective there which helps everything else. Again, he's making good decisions, he's mobile, he can extend plays and find guys down the field. So I think he's just playing good, sound, fundamental football right now and making great decisions from that position."
Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck(on if it's humbling to be 2-4 with all these close games):
"Every loss is humbling in this league. The wakeup call was long ago in a sense – if anybody needed a wakeup call. I don't think that's the case. We understand how hard it is to win in this league and no one takes any win for granted and certainly I don't. We understand it's tough. That's why you come into work and that's why I think too you have to have a positive attitude and grind. Because if you don't you're going to hurt the team."
Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey(on how much an improved run game has improved the defense this season):
"Well, I think it's pretty important. I've been in the league a long time and they kind of play off of each other. It's very much complementary football, what I'm used to from where I've been and been successful. It's just kind of the blueprint of what we're trying to do here. We're taking a step, but we have a long way to go but I think we're on the right track."
Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey(on needing to validate things by ending a nine-game losing streak to the Colts):
"I don't think we have to validate anything. Like I said, I think we're on the right track. Obviously it's a big game, it's the next game, it's the only game we're worried about. I'm not talking about streaks from the past or streaks moving forward, they're irrelevant. Just the game matters."
Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota(on new running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry):
"Having them on our team gives us an opportunity to be very versatile. There are things that they do well both in the run game as well as the pass game. We're very fortunate to have them and they've made our job a whole lot easier."