Titans at Colts: What to watch

Friday, October 29, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 44

The Titans have a golden opportunity to all but lock up the AFC South if they can win at Indianapolis Sunday. The Titans are 5-2 and already have a win against the Colts Sept. 26. That game was played when Colts QB Carson Wentz was hampered by two ankle sprains, and the Titans were able to take advantage and cruise to an early season win. In the rematch, the Titans can really gain the upper hand with a win or breathe life back into the Colts’ season with a loss.

First down

Keep winning on the outside. The Titans finally showed what the passing offense can look like with both A.J. Brown and Julio Jones on the field together and Derrick Henry’s presence and the threat of the run in the backfield. Teams will no doubt key on Henry, and Ryan Tannehill has to continue to make opposing defenses pay with big plays to his talented receivers.

Second down

Keep the pressure on. The Titans suddenly have a pass rush, thanks in large part to Harold Landry with 7.5 sacks, plus Denico Autry, Jeffery Simmons and others. The Titans were able to sack Patrick Mahomes four times as the defense showed great strides. Tennessee needs to hound Carson Wentz, who should be much more mobile than he was in the first meeting when he was clearly hobbled.

Third down

Control the ball. The Titans played exactly as they wanted against Kansas City, even with Derrick Henry only rushing for 86 yards and snapping his streak of five consecutive games of 100-plus yards. Tennessee held the football for more than 36 minutes against the Chiefs and would like to use that same formula at Indianapolis.

Fourth down

Stay the course. The Titans are talking about staying even-keeled and keeping their focus on the task at hand. With big wins over Buffalo and Kansas City, Tennessee has positioned itself to not only be in control of the division, but also to be one of the top seeds in the AFC, if they can continue along that path. However, a stumble or two – especially in the division – can easily undo some of the good work that took place in the past two games.

-- Terry McCormick