Titans vs. Colts: Week 8 Primer

The Tennessee Titans (5-2) travel to The Hoosier State this Sunday for an AFC South matchup with the Indianapolis Colts (3-4).

Although they have had recent success on the road against Indy, it is fitting this game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium on Halloween, because it is a venue that has given the Titans nightmares in the past. Just 3-10 versus the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium since its opening in 2008, the Titans have won two in a row in Indianapolis.

As for the team itself, following an 0-3 start, the Colts have some momentum since they have last seen the Titans after winning three of their last four. Running back Jonathan Taylor has rushed for over 100 yards in all three victories, while quarterback Carson Wentz has tossed two touchdowns in each of the last four games.

While the Colts offense has found its rhythm, they meet a Titans defense that held one of the top offenses in the league to just three points last week. The pass rush for the Titans has been very disruptive and the defense as a whole has played well during this three game winning streak.

Offensively for the Titans, a well balanced attack has been hard to defend. Ryan Tannehill has been efficient in the passing game, while Derrick Henry continues to do Derrick Henry. Having rushed for over 100 yards in the last four matchups with the Colts, will Indianapolis have an answer for the league’s top rusher?

The AFC South will take shape one of two ways depending on the outcome. Big game for both sides this Sunday in Indy.

Game Information

Tennessee Titans (5-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-4)

Game Time: 12:00 pm CDT

Location: Indianapolis, IN (Lucas Oil Stadium)


TV Broadcast Crew: Spero Dedes, Jay Feely

Radio: Titans Radio, 104-5 The Zone

Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Rhett Bryan

Referee: Carl Cheffers

Line: Indianapolis -1.5

Over/ Under: 51

Three Things to Watch

Winning in the Red Zone – Red zone offense is still a topic of conversation for the Indianapolis Colts, who rank 31st in the NFL in red zone percentage. In all four of their losses, the Colts have had two or more drives in the red zone that did not end with a touchdown. Back in late September in Nashville, the Titans allowed just one touchdown on three red zone trips by the Colts. With a defensive red zone percentage of 50%, which is tied for sixth in the league, the Titans can make it difficult on the Colts if several possessions ended with a field goal attempt instead of an extra point attempt. On the other side, the Titans seem to have the advantage when they drive deep into opponent territory. In goal to go situations, the Titans offense ranks third in the league, while the Colts defense is tied for 28th in those same situations. Whoever wins the battle in the red zone will give themselves a great shot at an AFC South victory.

Slowing Down Jonathan Taylor – Since the Titans have last seen RB Jonathan Taylor in Week 3, the second-year back out of Wisconsin has been on quite the run. Having rushed for over 100 yards in three out of the last four games, all six of Taylor’s touchdowns have come in the last four games: five on the ground, plus a long receiving touchdown against Baltimore. After averaging 4.1 yards per carry in his first three games, the 6.5 yards per carry that Taylor has averaged the last month tells me the Colts have found some answers in the running game. The Titans have defended the run well this season, allowing the ninth fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL (103.3) and will need to do so on Sunday in Indianapolis. 

Defending Michael Pittman Jr. – A second round draft pick out of USC in the 2020 NFL Draft, WR Michael Pittman Jr. has become a top target for QB Carson Wentz in the Colts offense. On Sunday Night Football against San Francisco, the second-year wide receiver finished with four catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. Leading Indianapolis in receiving with 508 yards, Pittman Jr. standing at 6’4 makes him a difficult matchup for most cornerbacks. There is also a factor in his game that might not be reflective in his stats: drawing defensive pass interference. Four times in the game against San Francisco, Wentz moved the chains via a defensive pass interference call, with several of those targeting Pittman Jr. down the field. The Titans held Pittman Jr. to six receptions for 68 yards on 12 targets earlier this season, which would probably be a win if they can do so again. The Titans must limit Pittman Jr.’s impact, both in the form of big plays and timely penalties.

Did You Know?

  • Titans punter Brett Kern must really like playing at Lucas Oil Stadium. In his 12 previous games at Indianapolis, Kern has had at least one punt downed inside the 20 in every game and has pinned the Colts inside their own 20 three or more times the last three trips to Indianapolis. In games played in Indianapolis, Kern has 28 total punts downed inside the 20 compared to just one touchback.
  • OLB Harold Landry is on pace to have the best season of his career as he enters this matchup with the Colts, which he has had a lot of success against during his time as a Titan. With 7.5 sacks this season, he needs just 1.5 sacks to tie his career high of 9.0, which he set back in 2019. With at least 0.5 sacks this week, Landry will have recorded eight sacks through eight games, which has not been done by a Titan since Jevon Kearse did so back in 2001. Against the Colts, Landry has registered a sack in four out of the last six games and a half sack or better in five of the last six.
  • For the first time since the formation of the AFC South, the Titans have won their last two games in Indianapolis, a feat they have not accomplished since the early 2000s. A 19-16 Divisional round victory back in the 2000 playoffs combined with a 23-15 regular season victory in 2002 is the only other time the Titans have won consecutive games in Indianapolis. If the Titans are able to make it three in a row, it would also be three straight wins against the Colts. That would tie the longest winning streak versus Indianapolis in franchise history.