C’mon, you had no idea the Indianapolis Colts could be 2-3, admit it. It’s OK, because no one did. Yet here they are. This matchup may not be the most dignified example of professional football, but we still may be in for a decent game as these two teams are more similar than you’d think.
The one difference is in the team’s running results: the Titans simply do it better. Between RB’s Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry, the Titans have a 1-2 punch that can potent- if not deadly- at times. Throw into that mix QB Marcus Mariota’s ability to run as well, and you have a team that simply doesn’t need to throw it very often usually. Mariota’s nursing a hammy and is questionable, so that’s not nothing.
For the Colts on offense, the emergence last week of rookie RB Marlon Mack is something everyone (including fantasy owners) should be take notice of. Sure, it was against the winless 49ers, but on 25 attempts, he’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Frank Gore may get the majority of carries, but that situation may be in flux. QB Jacoby Brissett has performed well enough.
Defensively, their ranks against the pass and run are nearly identical.
What I’m looking at:
-Titans QB Play- whoever is under center needs to control turnovers. Passing will be at a premium, so no chucking.
-Titans pass defense- The Titans give up over 200 yards per game through the air. The Colts present challenges with WR’s TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief.
-Colts Passing- TE Jack Doyle is questionable with a concussion. Teams that don’t light it up aerially need a reliable TE. Doyle was that with 23 targets and a 73.9% catch percentage.
-Colts rush defense- Murray and Henry are tough asks for any defense. You can’t let the home team control the clock.
So how do you pick this game?
Here’s what mytopsportsbooks.com says:
“Can the Titans end their 11-game losing streak against the (Andrew Luck-less) Colts this Monday? It’s likely that Mariota will return in Week 6, but that’s not certain, and even if he does, he won’t be the dynamic running threat he usually is. But a one-legged Mariota is still a better option than Matt Cassel, who only managed to put up 10 points against Miami in Week 5.
On defense, the Titans’ secondary has been getting roasted all season, and that may continue against the Colts. Jacoby Brissett has shown he can successfully chuck the ball up to TY Hilton, and that may be all he needs to do to make the Indy pass-attack a going concern on Monday. Yet our NFL oddsmakers still have the Titans as 3.5-point home favorites, a number which will get higher if/when Mariota is confirmed as the starter. The Colts’ roster is one of the least talented in the league when you remove Luck from the equation. The defense is third-worst in the league in DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and their two wins on the year both came at home against (still) winless teams (49ers, Browns). The Tennessee offense should be able to pound the ball with Demarco Murray and Derek Henry enough to end the team’s long drought against their division rival.”
Here, here. Titans at home.