The Titans face the colts on Sunday in an incredibly important divisional matchup. The Titans are coming off a big win against Jacksonville where the Titan's offense erupted for 42 points. This game vs the Colts is the most important game of the season so far because at 6-5, the Titans are still third in the AFC South and they need a divisional win. Here are the AFC South standings through 12 weeks:
Texans 7-4 (3-1), Week 13 opponent: Patriots
Colts 6-5 (3-1), Week 13 opponent: Titans
Titans 6-5 (1-2), Week 13 opponent: Colts
Jaguars 4-7 (1-4), Week 13 opponent: Buccaneers
Here are all the Week 13 matchups: (all games in CT)
Titans @ Colts SUN 12:00pm
Ravens vs 49ers SUN 12:00pm
Bengals vs Jets SUN 12:00pm
Browns @ Steelers SUN 12:00pm
Dolphins vs Eagles SUN 12:00pm
Panthers vs Redskins SUN 12:00pm
Packers @ Giants SUN 12:00pm
Jaguars vs Buccaneers SUN 12:00pm
Rams @ Cardinals SUN 3:05pm
Raiders @ Chiefs SUN 3:25pm
Chargers @ Broncos SUN 3:25pm
Patriots @ Texans SUN 7:20pm
Vikings @ Seahawks SUN 7:15pm
The Colts have officially ruled out TE Eric Ebron (IR), RB Marlon Mack, and WR T.Y. Hilton for the game against the Titans. These are the top three offensive targets for the Colts so this will likely make the game much more difficult for QB Jacoby Brissett. Additionally, CB Rock Ya Sin and WR Parris Campbell are questionable for the game.
The Titans have ruled out CB LeShaun Sims who has been playing in place of CB Malcom Butler who was placed on IR after the Panthers game. Also, WR Tajae Sharpe is listed as questionable. Reggie Gilbert, Dane Kruikshank, Derrick Henry, DaQuan Jones, Joshua Kalu, and Kevin Pamphile were all listed with injuries sometime this week but they will all play. Delanie Walker and Cameron Wake are also out after being placed on IR three days ago.
I am a bit worried about LeShaun Sims being hurt. This will likely mean that Joshua Kalu will have to start at CB which will be his first start as a Titan.
With the Colts' injuries and the recent strong play by the Titans offense, I feel good about this game but their are a few things the Titans must do to win this game:
1. Get Derrick Henry going
Derrick Henry is the most important player on the Titans and he is the most talented. Henry is one of the best running backs in the league and he has proven that over the last couple weeks. When Henry gets over 19 carries, the Titans are 5-1 this season. Henry is shaping up to have a similar second half of the season to last year. Henry has 575 rushing yards over the last 5 games and it is clear that he is beginning to heat up. This is my most important key because when Henry runs well, it makes everything easier. Much of Ryan Tannehill's success has come due to a consistent running game.
2. Take deep shots and be aggressive
The Colts currently have the 16th best pass defense in the NFL. While the Colts pass defense is not terrible, The Titans need to take deep shots especially to AJ Brown and Corey Davis. Brown and Davis have a great ability to run after the catch and Brown has done that many times this season. Last week, Tannehill missed what could've been a 65 yard touchdown to Corey Davis. Davis was wide open but that was one of Tannehill's few bad passes last week. Taking deep shots will heavily rely on how aggressive the Titans are going to be and how aggressive Ryan Tannehill will be.
3. Stop the Run
Colts starting running back Marlon Mack is out this week with a wrist injury but the Titans have struggled to stop opposing running backs. In week 2, the Colts totaled 156 rushing yards on the Titans and just 55 came from Mack. RB Jonathan Williams has emerged and has totaled 220 rushing yards over the last two weeks, both against divisional opponents. With Hilton and Ebron out and Williams playing well, the Colts will likely rely on the run more than normal. The Titans defense has struggled a bit against the pass, giving up the 6th most passing yards to running backs in the NFL at 544 total yards. Williams isn't necessarily known for catching the ball but he may have more targets than normal. If the Titans can take a lead early, running the ball will be tough for the Colts due to a lack of time.
Colts QB Jacoby Brissett is coming off his worst game of the season. Brissett threw for 129 yards and no touchdowns. In week 2, Brissett threw for just 146 yards against the Titans but did throw 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Brissett has failed to throw for 150 yards in the last 3 games despite TY Hilton playing last week. The performance of Brissett is definitely something to watch due to the lack of weapons and his poor performance last week.
I feel pretty good about this game despite the Titans beating the Colts just twice in the last 8 years. I think Henry will play a critical role in this game as he does every week and i'm predicting that the Titans offense will have another good game. Kicking may also prove important with the recent signing of K Ryan Santoso. Many people would say former Titan's kicker Cairo Santos lost the Titans the game against the Colts in Week 2, proving that kicking is very important.
I think the Titans will play well but whenever you expect something from the Titans, they do the opposite. I am predicting a 27-17 Titans win.