Colts at Titans -- Week 8

Where: LP Field, Nashville, Tenn. (natural grass, outdoors)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Spread: Titans by 3.5

Forecast: Temperatures in the mid-50s with no chance of rain. Winds up to 15 miles per hour.

Records: Titans (Overall: 3-4, AFC South: 0-1); Colts (Overall: 3-3, AFC South 0-1).

Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Dec. 18, 2011. Colts 27, Titans 13; Oct. 18, 2011. Titans 27-10. Series record: Colts lead 21-14.

What matters: With both teams staring up at the Texans in the AFC South, neither can afford a divisional loss Sunday. The Titans will look for their first three-game winning streak since the start of last season, when they opened 3-1. After struggling for years against Peyton Manning, the Titans will face QB Andrew Luck for the first time.

Who matters: Jerry Gray. Although the Titans have allowed a league-high 34 points per game, the second-year defensive coordinator hasn’t lost patience with his young defense. Poor tackling has been a concern. The Titans had nine broken tackles in last week’s 35-34 win at Buffalo and have allowed 44 in their past four games, according to Gray will look to pressure Luck, who has been sacked 11 times in his past three games.

Key matchups: CBs Alterraun Verner, Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton vs. Colts WR Reggie Wayne; LT Michael Otto vs. Colts LB Dwight Freeney. Wayne, a 12-year veteran, is on pace to finish the season with more than 125 catches and 1,775 receiving yards -- both career-highs. Under a new coaching staff, the Colts have moved the five-time Pro Bowl receiver from the “X” or split-end position to the inside. Indianapolis often features Wayne in a bunch or stack formation to spread out a defense and prevent secondaries from doubling the receiver. Verner and Mouton said that Wayne is a crafty route-runner, who provides an illusion that he is making one move before making another. Otto has started twice in his five-year career but will make his first career start at left tackle. Otto said he plans to focus on Freeney’s inside shoulder to determine if the elite rusher will head straight up the field on a speed rush or use a spin move to try to get to the inside.

Injuries of note: LT Michael Roos (abdomen) and QB Jake Locker (shoulder) have been ruled out. Roos, a one-time Pro Bowl lineman, has earned a reputation for being the Titans’ ironman after starting in Tennessee’s past 119 games. Roos underwent an emergency appendectomy Monday and will miss the first game of his eight-year career. Locker will miss his fourth consecutive game with a sore left (non-throwing) shoulder. Titans LB Colin McCarthy (ankle) missed last week’s win and sat out Thursday’s practice. McCarthy is listed as questionable. TE Craig Stevens suffered concussion-like symptoms after the Bills’ win but was cleared by team doctors Wednesday. Stevens is listed as probable.

Inside stuff: Matt Hasselbeck used a quick-passing attack to confound the Ravens’ secondary in last season’s 26-13 upset win. Hasselbeck completed 71.4 percent of his attempts and finished with a season-high 358 yards. The Colts’ hybrid defense is a combination of the schemes run by the Ravens and Chargers. Hasselbeck didn’t play in week 2 against San Diego, but the Titans had just 10 points and 212 yards of total offense. Colts CB Vontae Davis is regarded for his physical coverage, but WR Kenny Britt said the fourth-year corner is pressing receivers less at the line than he did in Miami. Instead, Davis has shown a tendency to wait until a receiver makes his second move before getting physical with his hands according to Britt.

Connections: Luck’s father Oliver, a second-round pick of the Houston Oilers in 1982, threw for more than 2,500 yards and 13 touchdowns in five seasons with the franchise. The Oilers selected Titans coach Mike Munchak with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft. Colts WR Donnie Avery caught three passes for 45 yards with the Titans last season. Avery is second on the Colts in catches (25) and receiving yards (304).

Stat you should know: The Colts are ranked 26th against the run but are particularly vulnerable to runs up the middle. Indianapolis is last in the league in defending runs behind the opposing center (6.14 yards per rush), according to Chris Johnson rushed for a season-high 195 yards and two touchdowns last week at Buffalo.

Record watch: Hasselbeck needs a touchdown to become the 32nd quarterback in NFL history to have 200 in a career. With a touchdown, the 14-year veteran will also become the fourth active quarterback to reach the mark. Hasselbeck would join Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees .

Looking ahead: If the Titans defeat the Colts, they can eclipse the .500 mark for the first time this season with a win over the Bears next week at LP Field. The Titans then have a road game at Miami, before a bye in Week 11.

Prediction: Titans 31, Colts 27. 

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Tennessee Titans, follow Matt Rybaltowski @CBSTitans