Last week, Dan Orlovsky returned to earth and the Colts were waxed by the Ravens. This week division rivals the Tennessee Titans come to town. With only three chances left to win a game, can the Colts pull it off? Here's what to watch for this week.
1. Watch a truer test. Dan Orlvosky's first game was against the awful Patriots defense. His second game was against the amazing Ravens defense. The Titans have the 13th best defense by DVOA and are 22nd against the pass. Neither great nor horrible, the Titans should prove a reasonable yard stick against which to measure the true capability of Dan Orlvosky. Tennessee is actually very good against the run, so the Colts will need Orlvosky to complete passes and mount drives. We also know how Curtis Painter played against them, so we should finally have a good point of comparison between the two QBs.
2. Watch what could have been. There were rumors that the Colts had tried to land Matt Hasselbeck before the season, but the Titans offered him money and playing time that the Colts couldn't match. He has been very average for the Titans, and that's exactly what the Colts could have used. He has a DVOA around 9% and a passer rating hovering around 80. He hasn't been good, but he hasn't been bad either. He's a bit gimpy this week, so if the Colts could knock him from the game, they might have a chance.
3. Watch the talk. Jim Caldwell WILL get fired if the Colts go 0-16! Shocking news. Jim Caldwell will get fired if the Colts go 3-13 too. If he doesn't there will be a full scale riot among season ticket holders. The fact is that the Colts will HAVE to make moves no matter what. The most likely name is Jeff Fisher, and the most likely time to talk about him will be during this game. I don't know if he's the best possible hire, but of the names I've heard bandied about, he strikes me as the best fit.
4. Watch the future take a beating. If Jake Locker does see the field, he should be running for his life. He's already taken four sacks in 54 drop backs, and Freeney and Mathis will be bearing down on him. Locker hasn't gotten a lot of playing time, and has been a mixed bag despite some decent raw stats. He's the future of the Titans, however, and it will be fun to watch him play if pressed into duty.
5. Watch my last game of the year. I won't be at the Houston game next Thursday, so this is my final chance to see a win in 2011. As the losses pile up, it gets harder and harder to to endure. Sunday's are just better when the Colts win, and I could really use one. It's been since 2007 since I've been to a Colts win live. The last win I was at was a 38-15 stomping of the Texans. Seriously. I need a win.
6. Watch for an end to the misery. If Jake Locker gets any significant playing time, I expect the Colts to win, mostly on the strength of a forced fumble or two by Freeney or Mathis. If Hasselbeck plays the whole game, the Titans might come out on top, but I'll call it 14-13 for the Colts.