This is a must win game. It's a cliche that gets tossed around way too much in sports, but Sunday in Indianapolis it is absolutely the case for the Titans.
For all of the progress and promise of this season in which the Titans have already equaled their win total from the past two seasons combined, they need to beat the Colts.
This losing streak, which stands at 10 following a 34-26 loss in Nashville in October, has been crippling to the organization.
The streak started in week 15 of the 2011 season when a Titans team in the middle of a playoff hunt came to Indianapolis and lost to a then 0-13 Colts team. Tennessee went on to win its final two games to finish 9-7, narrowly missing the playoffs.
It took nearly five years for the Titans to get back into the playoff hunt, and here they are back at Lucas Oil Stadium with the Colts standing in their way.
"Big game against Andrew Luck and our arch-nemesis," Titans outside linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "But you can throw out the records (Sunday). Both teams are trying to get a W."
Only a handful of Titans have beaten the Colts. Linebacker Derrick Morgan is one of them, having won once each of his first two years in the NFL before the slide began. Morgan, like the rest of the team, is tired of hearing about the streak.
"It's pretty obvious it's been a problem," Morgan said. "But until we do something about it the rhetoric isn't going to change."
Tennessee has an opportunity on Sunday to re-write the narrative. Beat the Colts and the Titans will move above .500 for the season and tie the first place Texans in the win column.
That's been the message of head coach Mike Mularkey. This isn't about payback for 10 consecutive losses. It's about the next game on the schedule for a young team in the unfamiliar territory of a playoff push.
"[The streak] isn't going to be my focus," Mularkey told the media earlier this week. "At this time of year every game's important. This is a division game. It's a big game."
The Titans have said all year that this team is different, that it is better than the teams that suffered all those setbacks to the Colts and others.
This is an opportunity to prove that once and for all.
"It's about time we turn the tables on them," Morgan said. "We have goals of winning the AFC South, so this is a must win."
There's that cliche again. Only this time it's true.