The Tennessee Titans (1-1) return to Nissan Stadium this Sunday for their first AFC South division game of the season, as they host the Indianapolis Colts (0-2).
Both teams opened up the season with back-to-back games against NFC West opponents, with the Titans splitting the two matchups, while Indianapolis dropped a pair of home games with Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams.
Although only two weeks into the season, injuries are a storyline for both teams entering this matchup. Key players on both sides have their name on the weekly injury report.
How will the Titans translate the momentum from a dramatic, come from behind overtime victory in Seattle to this AFC South matchup? The Titans looked like themselves late in the game last week. Now let’s see if they can piece a more complete performance together against the Colts.
With an opportunity for the Titans to take an early lead in the AFC South standings, a division game, especially with Indianapolis, always presents a challenge.
Indianapolis Colts (0-2) @ Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Game Time: 12:00 pm CDT
Location: Nashville, TN (Nissan Stadium)
TV Broadcast Crew: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, and Michael Grady
Radio: Titans Radio, 104-5 The Zone
Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Rhett Bryan
Referee: Bill Vinovich
Line: Tennessee -5
Over/ Under: 47.5
Attending the Game?
Charitable Drive: Second Harvest Food Drive (non-perishable food items)
Giveaway: Oilers flags
12th Titan: Members of the Oilers “Luv Ya Blue” Era
National Anthem: Frank Ray
Halftime Performance: Bum Phillips Ring of Honor Induction
Three Things to Watch
Inactive List 90 Minutes Before Kickoff – Typically, the three things to watch are visible on the field. This week, it will be important to learn before the game who we will actually see on the field. For the Colts, the biggest question mark is quarterback Carson Wentz, who is dealing with injuries to both of his ankles. Right tackle Braden Smith and cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who are both starters for Indianapolis, were inactive last week and remain on the injury report. On the other hand, the Titans have some injuries of their own. Linebacker Jayon Brown, cornerback Caleb Farley, and tight end Anthony Firkser were all inactive last Sunday in Seattle and still remain on the injury report. Taylor Lewan was an unexpected addition to the inactives last week, while Roger Saffold exited the game with a shoulder injury. Keep an eye on the inactives on Sunday.
Stopping the Colts’ Rushing Attack – Carson Wentz’ injury to his ankles put the Colts’ offense in a predicament entering their first AFC South matchup of the season. As of now, it would seem that the options for Indianapolis at quarterback are play Wentz who is not at 100%, give Jacob Eason his first career start, or call up Brett Hundley from the practice squad and have him play in his first game since 2019. All of this to say, if the Titans can limit the ground game for the Colts, it applies more pressure to whichever quarterback that is on the field. Jonathan Taylor is the lead back for the Colts, with 107 yards on 33 attempts, but has primarily been bottled up through the first two weeks, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. If the Titans can keep Taylor, along with Nyheim Hines, in check, that would put a greater load on whichever Indianapolis quarterback that plays.
Faster Start – Through the first two weeks, the Titans have been outscored 48-15 in the first half. Against Arizona, the 24-6 halftime deficit was too much to overcome, while the Titans were able to battle back down 24-9 at the half last week in Seattle. The Titans have proven they can fight back from a double digit deficit, but that is something I would imagine head coach Mike Vrabel would be okay not having to do so often. Out of 11 offensive first half drives (not counting a twelfth drive that ended with a kneel down before halftime), four have ended with a punt, three with field goals, two with turnovers, one with a missed field goal, and one with a touchdown. A better start on both sides of the ball could be a big help to avoid an early deficit for the third straight week.
Did You Know?
- Wide receiver Julio Jones continues to climb the NFL’s all-time career receiving yards leaderboard. Surpassing the 13,000 yard mark for his career and moving ahead of Jason Witten for 19th on the all-time leaderboard last week in Seattle, Jones could potentially take a few steps up the ladder this week. Steve Largent’s 13,089 receiving yards are 37 more than Jones’ current total. At 13,198 yards, Andre Reed sits at 17th place and 146 yards ahead of Jones.
- In the last meeting between the Colts and the Titans, A.J. Brown found the end zone twice. Brown scored on a 69-yard receiving touchdown, then later in the game on a 42-yard kickoff return on a Colts’ onside kick. The performance marked the first time in franchise history that a player recorded a receiving and a kickoff return touchdown in the same game.
- Former Oilers head coach Bum Phillips will become the 15th member of the Ring of Honor at Nissan Stadium when he is inducted during halftime on Sunday. In his six seasons as head coach (1975-1980), Phillips led the Oilers to a 59-38 record, a .608 winning percentage, which is better than any other Titans/Oilers head coach that coached at least two complete seasons. Phillips’ 1978 and 1979 Oilers both reached the AFC Championship game. Several former Oilers are expected to be in attendance for the ceremony and game.