Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans: Week 13 Preview

By: Justin Hawkins

“That’s one where it feels like we did it. We got it and we got to keep building on it, keep going. It’s been awhile since we got a win, so it’s a good feeling.”

– Titans QB Will Levis

The Tennessee Titans stay undefeated at home and put out the fire that was a three game losing streak on the road by beating the Carolina Panthers 17-10. The Titans improved to 4-0 when playing at home in Nissan Stadium and 4-7 overall this season. This week, the two-tone blue will welcome in AFC South rival, Indianapolis Colts (6-5), who are looking to complete a season series sweep for the first time since 2018.

AFC South Standings (Week 13)

Last Time Out


The Tennessee Titans unleashed a heavy defensive approach Sunday en route to a 17-10 victory to stay undefeated when playing at home in Nissan Stadium. The Titans scored all of their 17 points in the first half, but was able to withstand a late push by Carolina to secure the win. 

The King is still the king in Nashville. When the eight-year veteran, Derrick Henry, is the feature in the Titans offense, Tennessee has more success than not. This was the case yet again Sunday as he carried the ball 18 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown came one yard out in the first quarter, and his second came on a 10 yard run two plays after Titans edge rusher Arden Key strip sacked Panthers quarterback Bryce Young followed by a Jeffery Simmons recovery.

Henry’s performance Sunday had him climbing the NFL ranks once again. He surpassed the 9,000 rushing yards mark becoming the 39th player in NFL history to do so. With his two rushing touchdowns, he rose to 17th all-time in the NFL in rushing touchdowns securing his 83rd and 84th rushing touchdowns. Lastly, Henry became just the 8th player in NFL history to reach 9,000 rushing yards, and 80 rushing touchdowns before his 30th birthday. He joins the elite company of Adrian Peterson, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson & Marshall Faulk.

The Titans offense outside of Henry was somewhat stale and saw, arguably, rookie quarterback Will Levis’ worst performance in a Titans uniform. Third downs were a struggle as they went 2-for-11 on the day. Levis, postgame, attributed the lack of success to location issues on his part when both finding the open receiver and throwing a good ball. Levis, who went 18-of-28 for 185 yards, did do a good job of spreading the wealth to his receivers throughout the game and orchestrated a near perfect 5 play 27 yard drive just under 30 seconds to kick a field goal that ended the 1st half. 

This game, however, was more of a product of the success by the defensive front. The likes of Denico Autry, Jeffery Simmons, and Arden Key were disruptive all game and forced Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young under duress. Young went 18-of-31 for 194 yards, but had to fight all game for positive yards and time in the pocket. Arden Key had a sack and forced fumble recovered by two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, who also had one of four sacks by Tennessee. Denico Autry had the other two, the second just two plays before the Titans forced the Panthers to turn the ball over on downs with 1:55 left to seal the victory.


It took a last minute strip sack and fumble from Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield for the Indianapolis Colts to earn their third consecutive win. The Colts played complimentary football Sunday and was impactful in every facet of the game. 

The Colts offense led by quarterback Gardner Minshew, who went 24-of-41 for 251 yards and an interception, out-gained the Bucs offense 394 yards to 298. The running back duo of Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss accounted for 146 yards rushing and two scores with Taylor having the bulk of the work, 15 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. had himself a nice game with 10 receptions for 107 yards. 

On the defensive side of the ball, they were the main reason for the victory. The Colts defense forced two turnovers, an interception and strip sack fumble, and recorded six sacks on Baker Mayfield. Samson Ebukam had two sacks. Kwity Paye, Isaiah Land, and Tyquan Lewis each had one. Dayo Odeyingbo and Adetomiwa Adebawore combined for the other sack. 

Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield injured his right ankle on their first series of the game, which resulted in a field goal, and it likely impacted his performance allowing the Colts to take control on defense. That included the Bucs final drive of the game with 89 seconds to play where Ebukam sacked Mayfield causing him to fumble and turning the ball over to the Colts securing the win. 

The Matchup

The Indianapolis Colts come into Nissan Stadium Sunday riding a three-game win streak and looking to complete a season series sweep over the Tennessee Titans. It would be the first time since 2018 that the Colts swept the Titans in the season when Andrew Luck was the quarterback in Indianapolis. The Titans enter week 13 undefeated when playing at home and hope to keep that streak alive despite not being able to win in consecutive games so far this season. The Colts are 3-1 when playing on the road and 4-1 if you include their game in Germany. 

In 58 meetings between the regular and postseason, the Colts lead the way 36 games to the Titans 22. When played in Nashville, the Titans are 10-16. The Titans have found a way in all four of their home games to play more consistent and complimentary football as opposed to playing on the road. The last time these two teams met was week 5 in Indianapolis as the Colts outlasted the Titans 23-16 when running back Zack Moss ran all over the Titans defense going for 165 yards and two touchdowns. That was the worst performance this Titans defense has put together this season in terms of rushing defense. It will be crucial for this team to not replicate that performance and put high amounts of focus into stopping the Colts rushing attack. Week 5 against the Titans was the first game of the season for Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, but he was not the feature by any means. This week, Jonathan Taylor has been ruled out with a thumb injury and is expected to miss a couple of weeks. This comes after Taylor’s best rushing performance this season having 91 yards and two touchdowns. Stopping Zack Moss becomes the most immediate priority for Sunday if you are the Titans. 

Since their last meeting, the Colts pass rush has grown tremendously and are able to put high amounts of pressure on the opposing quarterback. Rookie left tackle Jaelyn Duncan will make his second consecutive start and the Colts will be sure to try and exploit that. Samson Ebukam had two sacks last week and will be there for more come Sunday. The Titans offensive line will have their work cut out for them as the Colts have put together 15 sacks during their three game win streak (4 in week 10, 5 in week 11, and 6 in week 12).

Where the Titans rank on offense:28th in yards per game (284.0), 21st in rushing yards per game (102.7), 26th in passing yards per game (181.3), 30th in sacks per pass attempt (11.36%), 28th on 3rd downs (31.82%), 4th in field goals made (95.65%), and 31st in red zone (38.71%).

Where the Colts rank on offense: 15th in yards per game (341.4), 11th in rushing yards (121.4), 18th in passing yards (220.0), 11th in sacks per pass attempt (6.30%), 19th on 3rd downs (37.66%), and 9th in red zone (60%).

The Titans on Defense: 17th in yards per game (335.4), 15th in rushing (110.8), 18th in passing (224.5), 10th in sacks per pass attempt (8.31%), 20th on 3rd downs (39.74%), and 4th in red zone (39.47%).

The Colts on Defense: 24th in yards (353.0), 26th in rushing (129.3), 17th in passing (223.7), 7th in sacks per pass attempt (9.52%), 15th on 3rd downs (38.36%), and 16th in red zone (52.94%).

The last time these two teams met, the Colts limited the Titans offense to just 89 yards rushing. Running backs Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears could not find much room to run. With the Colts being 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed and allowing 4.77 yards per rushing attempt, the Titans need to focus on the ground game. Derrick Henry at home is a different monster this season as compared to on the road, just like this Titans team. This game, like the last, will be fairly low scoring and will be based off the impact from the defenses. Both have successful pass rushing and will create the opposing quarterback to have to move in and out of the pocket. The team with the better offensive line and who can create more time for the quarterback will win this game. Indianapolis this season has had a better line compared to the Titans, but the Titans are starting to help out Will Levis a bit more as of late, especially last week as they allowed just one sack. 

Most AFC South divisional matchups, especially when they include the Titans, come down to the end. I trust Nick Folk for the Titans much more than I trust Matt Gay for the Colts, even though Gay has a stronger leg if the moment comes to it.

Game Information

Indianapolis Colts (6-5) vs. Tennessee Titans (4-7)

Time: Sunday, December 3rd @ 12:00 PM CT

Location: Nissan Stadium (Nashville, TN)

TV Broadcast: CBS (News Channel 5 locally)

TV Broadcast Crew: Andrew Catalon, Tiki Barber, Matt Ryan, AJ Ross

Radio: Titans Radio (104-5 The Zone)

Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Ramon Foster, Rhett Bryan

Referee: Craig Wrolstad

Line: IND -1.0

Over/Under: 42.5

Things To Watch

Derrick Henry in December

It’s already week 13 and entering the month of December. While the Titans have not had much success this season, but they are entering the period of the season where running back Derrick Henry shines. Cold weather football and time to ground and pound. In the month of December, Henry has played 25 games in his NFL career. He has 441 carries for 2,412 yards and 25 touchdowns. Despite the struggles on offense for the Titans, now is not the time to rewrite the script. Run Henry and figure out the rest. 

Titans at Home

The Titans have had a very underwhelming season through twelve weeks going 4-7, but each of those 4 wins have come at home. The Titans are a different animal at home. They score 24.75 points per game at home as opposed to 12.2 points on the road. The offense and defense have found a way to play complimentary football as well. Can the streak stay alive and move to 5-0? The challenge is always tough against a divisional opponent.

Titans D-Line Domination

The Titans on defense last week were dominant up front all game. They sacked Panthers quarterback Bryce Young four times and caused a fumble on one them. The more havoc this defense can create up front, the better the chance the Titans have at limiting explosive plays. The Titans will need Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, and Arden Key to replicate last week’s performances.  

Will Levis vs. Gardner Minshew

In week 5, the starting quarterbacks were Ryan Tannehill for the Titans and rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson for the Colts. Richardson injured his throwing shoulder in the first half and would not return. Since, Richardson was put on season-ending IR and Ryan Tannehill has become the backup to rookie Will Levis. To end week 5, Minshew magic was too much for the Titans secondary. Even though the Titans won last week, it certainly was not Levis’ best game. This game would be a great one to bounce back for the rookie. 

Colts Rushing Attack

In week 5, the Titans were gashed by the Colts rushing attack led by Zack Moss. The Colts rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Moss had both touchdowns and 165 of those yards. A big emphasis this week should be slowing down Zack Moss and the Colts rushing attack despite not having Jonathan Taylor this week.