Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee linebacker David Thornton won't hide it.
He really enjoys playing against the Indianapolis Colts, the team that chose not to keep him around when he hit free agency. And he has been making them pay twice a year playing with the Titans.
"Whenever it's your former team, there's a little extra energy there. Maybe you play with a little more passion. I think the setting of a Monday night stage makes the game even bigger," Thornton said.
The stakes are even higher tonight between these AFC South rivals. A win extends the best start in Titans history to 7-0 and helps Tennessee take a four-game lead in the loss column over Indianapolis (3-3), the team that has won five straight division titles.
"They've been the kings of the AFC South," Thornton said. "At the same time, this is a new season. We have a lot of things going well for us, and we want to build on that. This division game (tonight) can definitely do some things for both teams.
The banged-up Colts certainly could use the three players that started careers in Indianapolis but currently play in Tennessee. Thornton was the first to sign with the Titans in 2006.
Cornerback Nick Harper won his Super Bowl ring with the Colts, then joined the Titans in 2007. Tennessee brought in Jake Scott to play right guard once Benji Olson retired.
"You hate to lose good players, you really do," two-time MVP Peyton Manning said. "Jake Scott seems to be playing well for them. A lot of our good players we've lost through the years have gone to different places. But a number of them have gone to the Titans."
Indianapolis really could have used Scott this season with all the injuries on its offensive line. Manning was protected by a pair of rookie guards the past few weeks, including in last week's 34-14 loss at Green Bay in which he had two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Manning goes into this game with only one more touchdown pass (eight) than interceptions (seven).