NASHVILLE, Tenn. – ESPN reported Sunday morning that Marcus Mariota is a no-go for the biggest game of his career Sunday night, where the winner of the Colts-Titans matchup will advance to the playoffs and the loser’s season will end.

“…[O]ne source told ESPN that an independent spine specialist has warned the Titans that further damage would put Mariota's ability to throw the football at significant risk beyond this weekend,” Chris Mortensen wrote.MariotaCloseIndy

My conversations early Sunday told me the team is still working with doctors and couldn’t yet say if Mariota would play. A second person said the team will work Mariota out today. But a third finally provided confirmation that it's not very likely Mariota will play.

Titans fans need to let it sink in and move away from the idea that, if Mariota doesn’t play, a simple stinger like the one their high school football-playing son may have suffered is keeping Mariota out. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Taylor Lewan was fined $10,000 for his postgame interaction with Washington’s Josh Norman last week, when the Titans’ tackle mocked the Washington cornerback claiming he tried to injured Derrick Henry during the Titans win.

It’s Lewan’s second significant fine this month.

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On Dec. 4 he was charged $26,739 for postgame interaction with officials following the Titans’ win over the Jets two days earlier.

Friday after practice Lewan told media in more detail what sparked the altercation. (I was not there.)

[Unlocked]

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Pickers mailbag: If they win, can the Titans make much of a run?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, it's the weekend, but it's still going to be an awfully long wait for Colts-Titans on Sunday Night Football.

Hopefully, it's one of those memorable nights written into Nashville sporting lore, with a packed stadium witnessing a classic we'll always remember.

Let's start off with Friday night's Periscope.

Now onto your questions.

PK: Of course anything can happen.

If they beat the Colts, the most likely scenario would send them to Houston next week. And that would mean a rematch against a team they lost badly to six weeks earlier, though they also beat the Texans in Week 2, well before Houston found its footing. They’d certainly have a chance in a division matchup.LuckWoodyardIndy

As it stands now, a win there would send them to Kansas City. They beat the Chief there in the first round last year. Andy Reid is a bad playoff coach, but we haven’t seen how he does with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. Two road wins by a team missing Delanie Walker, Jurrell Casey, Logan Ryan and Jonnu Smith would be a heck of an accomplishment and one that is hard for me to see.

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Scout's take: Derrick Henry needs precise initial cut vs. Colts

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- So many questions going into this game.  Can the Titans beat Andrew Luck who is 10-0 versus them as a starter?

Is Marcus Mariota healthy enough to throw the ball downfield?

Who is going to replace Jurrell Casey and his disruptive play along the front?

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For the Titans to win, it starts with Derrick Henry. He needs to get going early and force the Colts’ defense to respect the running game.

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YAZOO PODCAST: What can Marcus Mariota withstand and how Brett Kern showed me a bit of the Titans' special ingredient

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- To me, the question isn't so much is Marcus Mariota starts as if he finishes.

Madison Blevins and I discuss that as well as some offensive improvements for the better since the first Colts-Titans game, the penalty problem from that game, Adoree Jackson's struggle in Game One vs. T.Y. Hilton, the Nissan Stadium field after the bowl game, Ryan Succop's recent PAT trouble and how, on the same topic, Brett Kern showed me a bit of one of the Titans' special ingredients.

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You can find Part 1 on iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line. 

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Brian Orakpo on Colts-Titans: 'It comes off like a David and Goliath-type deal'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – That the Colts are the final hurdle for the 2018 Titans is fitting, as the Colts are always the Titans’ primary hurdle.SnapIndy

Since the two teams were paired as relocated franchises and bundled with two expansion franchises as the AFC South in 2002, Indianapolis holds a 24-8 series lead over Tennessee. They’ve won nine division crowns to the Titans’ two. The Colts have been to two Super Bowls, winning one. The Titans have been to one, winning none.

While Colts quarterbacks Peyton Manning (13-5) and Andrew Luck (10-0) have had great success against Tennessee, the Titans also lost to Curtis Painter while he wore a horseshoe on his helmet.

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Absent Logan Ryan, Jurrell Casey, Titans can't start 'freelancing, running wild'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With Logan Ryan and Jurrell Casey down, the Titans are arguably without two of their four most sound defenders.

I’d group those two with Wesley Woodyard and Kevin Byard as the team’s most complete guys on defense. When missing guys of that caliber, there can be an automatic pull to try do more to try to fill the holes.CaseyEagles

Without Ryan against Washington, the secondary did well against not to over-extend, they just played very well. Kevin Byard had 16 tackles and Ryan’s replacement, LeShaun Sims, didn't make a mental error.

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Adoree' Jackson on Round 2 with T.Y. Hilton: Be focused, be sharp, be detailed

JacksonIndyNASHVILLE, Tenn.  Adoree' Jackson was still majorly in the Christmas spirit as you will see in this conversation I had with him before practice on Wednesday when I asked him about a rematch with T.Y. Hilton.

Hilton caught all nine passes Andrew Luck threw his way in the Colts' 38-10 win over Tennessee at Lucas Oil Stadium on Nov. 18. Hilton finished with 155 yards and two touchdowns.

"Shit, that was all me," Jackson said that night. "You can’t put that on nobody else but me. He was on fire. That’s as bad as it’s going to get. I don’t care if we won. That’s still terrible.”

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