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Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts Prediction and Preview

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts Prediction and Preview

Red-hot Titans look to increase their lead in the AFC South when they take on the surging Colts in Lucas Oil Stadium

We've got one of our first rematches of the 2021 NFL season as the Indianapolis Colts host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. These two AFC South rivals played in Nashville back in Week 3 with the Titans holding serve at home in a 25-16 victory. Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes to three different players. Derrick Henry added 113 yards on the ground while Carson Wentz struggled as the Colts' offense managed just one touchdown and finished with 256 total yards.

Tennessee (5-2) is feeling good after three straight wins, the latest being a convincing 27-3 victory over Kansas City. The Titans forced three turnovers and held Patrick Mahomes without a touchdown pass. Mahomes also was the Chiefs' leading rusher before leaving the game in the fourth quarter after taking a knee to the helmet. Meanwhile, Tannehill was efficient, completing 21 of 27 pass attempts for 270 yards and a touchdown. Henry ran for just 86 yards, but he started the scoring off with a touchdown pass to MyCole Pruitt in the first quarter.

Indianapolis (3-4) is glad to get a chance to dry off in Lucas Oil Stadium after getting drenched out in San Francisco last Sunday night. It was a happy plane ride home, however, after the Colts picked up a 30-18 victory over the 49ers. The water-logged conditions were certainly a factor as the teams combined for six turnovers, but the visiting Colts did a better job of protecting the football with just two of those. Wentz accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and just one turnover (fumble), and Jonathan Taylor sloshed his way to 107 yards and a score on the ground. The defense contained San Francisco's ground game while intercepting Jimmy Garoppolo twice. Indianapolis has won three out of four after starting the year 0-3

Tennessee (5-2) at Indianapolis (3-4)

Kickoff: Sunday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS
Spread: Titans -1

Three Things to Watch

1. Intangibles
The Titans are on a roll with three straight wins and five of their last six. Those last two victories have come against Buffalo and Kansas City, the two teams that meet in last season's AFC Championship Game. This is Tennessee's first road game since Week 5, a 37-19 rout of Jacksonville. Next week is an intriguing game out in Los Angeles against the Rams, but since it's the Colts, focus shouldn't be an issue. Indianapolis is dealing with a slightly shorter turnaround after playing on Sunday night. But injuries don't appear to be a major factor leading into this game, other than wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who may miss another game because of a quad issue. The Colts also will welcome an extended stretch of home dates after playing four of their last five on the road. It will be a quick turnaround for Week 9 with the Jets coming to town for "Thursday Night Football."

Tennessee has won three of the past four meetings with Indianapolis, including the last two games played in Lucas Oli Stadium by a combined 33 points — a 31-17 victory in Week 13 of the 2019 season and a 45-26 win in Week 12 last year.

2. Derrick Henry
Earlier this season, Henry went for 113 rushing yards on 28 carries in Tennessee's 25-16 win over Indianapolis. Henry, who is once again leading the NFL rushing (and by nearly 300 yards), has cracked the century mark in five of his last six games and even added a new wrinkle to his game with a touchdown pass last week. He has a track record of success against the Colts with four straight 100-yard performances, and, not surprisingly, the Titans are 3-1 in those games. Henry and Elijah Mitchell (105 yards on Sunday) are the only players to go for more than 100 yards on the ground against this Indianapolis defense thus far. Overall, the Colts are 14th in the league against the run, allowing 111 yards per contest. Indianapolis knows it can't let Henry run wild in Lucas Oli Stadium on Sunday. But that is easier said than done.

3. Carson Wentz
Tennessee is just 24th in passing yards allowed per game at 273.6. The Titans' secondary has been ravaged by injuries and will look different than the group that faced the Colts earlier this season. Wentz has been pretty solid in his first stint as Indinapolis' starting quarterback with 11 touchdown passes and just one interception. He's put up four straight games with two touchdown tosses, a key to Indianapolis' turnaround after an 0-3 start. The offensive line has done a pretty good of keeping him upright (15 sacks allowed) and it should get better now that All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson is back in the lineup after missing three games. The line's play will be important moving forward considering Wentz still struggles with pocket awareness at times. He also needs to continue to make the right decisions and not force the issue to keep the pressure on Tennessee's make-shift secondary.

Something else that will help Wentz and the Colts is to continue to feed Taylor. He's second in the league to Henry in rushing with 579 yards, but he's done his damage with considerably fewer opportunities (105 attempts vs. Henry's 191) and is averaging a healthy 5.5 yards per carry. Taylor fared even better (6.4 ypc) in the first game against the Titans, although he got only 10 carries and had just one catch. Coming off of back-to-back 100-yard efforts, look for Taylor to get plenty of touches on Sunday.

Final Analysis

The Colts are playing some fantastic football, and I think they can take advantage of the Titans' defense a little bit more than the Chiefs were able to. Indianapolis' offensive line will give Wentz time and he should be able to find guys like Michael Pittman Jr. in open spaces. Henry will get his, but Tennessee will not be able to keep up. Give this one to the home team as things tighten up a little in the AFC South.

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Prediction: Colts 27, Titans 17

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.