Written by: Joseph Yun
The Tennessee Titans travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to decide the AFC South and get a bit of revenge for two weeks ago. While both teams sport an identical 7-3 record, the Colts have the upper hand due to head-to-head record. Both teams are coming off emotional overtime victories over the Ravens and Packers. Hopefully, the midfield greeting between the two coaches is a tad bit more friendly than the one Mike Vrabel experienced in Baltimore. Maybe even trade notes on their common opponents, perhaps? Both teams have several key high profile injuries so whichever GM built his roster the best will win this one.
This article and future weekly articles were written with the assistance of the Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia, which you can buy a PDF or hard cover copy here. The Encyclopedia has many features such as prospects, top team stars, and other countless data points to expand your knowledge of the game.
Note: all numbers courtesy of profootballreference.com
Key Numbers + Info (2020 season)
Record: 7-3 (1-1 AFC South)
Points scored: 276
Points allowed: 208
Avg. yards per rush: 3.8
Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.5
Avg. rush yards per game: 109.2
Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 89.2
Rushing TDs: 10 for, 8 against
Avg. pass yards per game: 264.2
Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 208.9
Passing TDs: 14 for, 14 against
Pass Completion Rate: 68%
Pass Completion Rate Against: 63%
Top Rusher: Jonathan Taylor (135 attempts for 518 yards and four touchdowns)
Top Receiver: Zach Pascal (31 receptions for 384 yards and two touchdowns)
Top Tackler: Darius Leonard (66 tackles, four tackles for loss, three passes defended, one forced fumble)
Key Additions: QB Philip Rivers, CB Xavier Rhodes, TE Trey Burton, S Julian Blackmon (rookie)
Key Losses: TE Eric Ebron, CB Pierre Desir, OT Joe Haeg, S Malik Hooker (injured), RB Marlon Mack (injured), WR Parris Campbell (injured), DL DeForest Buckner (COVID19), EDGE Denico Autry (COVID19), LB Bobby Okereke (injured), RB Jonathan Taylor (COVID19), C Ryan Kelly (injured)
The Colts lead the all-time series 35-17
What Happened In The Last Game?
The Colts staged a comeback in the third quarter after largely keeping pace in a torrid pitched affair in the first half. Indianapolis eventually won 34-17, which coincidentally reflects the series history up to that point.
Keys to a Titans Victory
- Consistent Play - The Titans have been up and down in terms of getting going during the early portions of games. They either start like a house on fire or just don’t spark at all, leading to a massive scramble to come back. Fans aren’t asking for them to jump on the Colts, just keep score for score if possible. Tennessee has proven to be a second-half team of adjustments more often than not so just getting to halftime intact may be the decisive factor.
- Ryan Tannehill - Last time out against the Colts wasn’t the greatest showing for QB1. He will need to step up and produce with the Colts likely aiming to stop the fearsome Derrick Henry. Can he beat a wounded Colts defense through the air or will it be a continuation of the same? He will have to account for DROY favorite Julian Blackmon at all times. Not to mention all-world linebacker, Darius Leonard.
- Stop 21 - The Colts’ running back feasted on the Titans defensive inefficiencies last time and there were no answers for him out of the backfield. Can a Tennessee defense that’s short on assets keep him contained? Hines is the true weapon that Colts have that teams truly fear.
Keys to a Colts victory
- Man Management - Indianapolis will be tested at its limit as big star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner joins leading sack artist Denico Autry on the COVID reserve list. Emerging linebacker Bobby Okereke is out with injury as well. All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson is questionable along with quarterback Phillip Rivers is ailing with a foot injury (which led to Jacoby Brissett taking snaps last week). Anthony Walker and Darius Leonard will have to step up and play at an even better level. This game will be a battle of which coach can maximize his walking wounded roster the best.
- Secondary Assets - With much of the Colts’ stars hurt or on the COVID list, can Frank Reich best utilize Titans killer Jack Doyle and emergent rookie receiver Michael Pittman to the best of their abilities? T.Y. Hilton, even at his advanced age and declining skill set, can still pose a threat to Tennessee. DL Grover Stewart was the breakout star last game.
Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia Prospects of the Week
7. WR Michael Pittman
- After a slow start due to injury and a rookie learning curve, the former Trojans star has come on lately. He’s starting to rise as a key WR2 while developing at the feet of veteran star TY Hilton. While he likely won’t be one of the best superstar receivers, he can grow into being a steady reliable number two man that plays forever.
10. Julian Blackmon
- He should have the DROY award locked up and squared away barring injury. Blackmon has been that good, which is remarkable given that he tore his ACL mere months ago. Not much more to say about his stellar play, really.
What are the odds?
(all odds are courtesy of vegasinsider.com)
Caesar’s has the Colts as 3 point favorites at -175 while the Titans are +155 dogs. The over/under has been set at 51 even
DraftKings has the Colts as 3 point favorites at -182 while the Titans are +160 dogs. The over/under has been set at 51.5.
The WestGate Superbook has Colts as 3 point favorites at -165 while the Titans are +145 dogs. The over/under has been set at 51.5