Monday Night's matchup with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts will provide the Tennessee Titans with an opportunity to validate their status as an AFC powerhouse.
Here are my keys to a Titan victory.
Smash and Dash the Colts
Speedy Chris Johnson and the pudgy LenDale White have combined to form one of the league's most feared running back tandems. On Monday, the duo will be licking their chops as they face Indy's 28th ranked run defense (153.5 yards per game).
As usual, the Colts' defense has struggled without the services of their all-pro safety, Bob Sanders. Without #21 in the lineup, expect the Titans to take advantage of the absence of Indy's missing link by way of CJ breaking a long run or two on the edge and LenDale abusing their smallish D-line in short yardage situations.
Continued success in the red zone
Over the course of a year, the Tennessee Titans have undergone a metamorphosis on the offensive side of the football.
In 2007, the Titans were the league's worst team in the category of converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns. In 2008, the Titans are currently ranked as the league's best unit when it comes to punching it in between the 20s.
Against a team such as the Colts, the Titans' newfound ability to dominate in the red zone will be of the utmost importance. Hopefully, we will continue to see more Rob Bironas on extra points rather than on field goal tries.
Prolong Manning's struggles
The once-mighty Colt offense has had its share of adversities in 2008. Peyton Manning's rustiness, Joseph Addai's hamstring and injuries to their offensive line have all been contributing factors in their un-Colt like status as the league's 20th ranked offense.
The Titans must prevent the Colts from breaking out of their offensive funk. Albert Haynesworth must continue to collapse the opposing QB's pocket by taking up multiple blockers, which will allow the rest of the Titan D-linemen to give Peyton fits.
The ability of the Titans to pressure Manning will also make things easier for Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper on the outside in their attempts to contain the formidable Harrison/Wayne duo.
What are your keys to a monumental Titan victory on Monday Night?