Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts: Matchups to Watch
Colts offensive line vs. Titans pass rushers
The Colts revamped offensive line has given up its fair share of pressure this season. They’ve struggled with some injuries, but Andrew Luck has been as commonly under duress as he ever has been. They’ve had a few solid performances and Ryan Kelly, Anthony Castonzo, and Jack Mewhort are having solid years. Still, though, they have PFF’s 22nd ranked offensive line and have given up five or more sacks in four games this year.
Their offensive line kind of neutralized the Titans pass rush in these teams’ first meeting earlier this year. The Titans only recorded two sacks while the coverage got shredded for 353 yards and three touchdowns. The Titans were able to get a decent, not a lot, amount of pressure in that game, but Luck was able to manipulate the pocket and avoid plenty of potential sacks throughout. Considering this will be a Colts home game in their dome, I’m not expecting the secondary and linebackers to have much success in coverage. But if the Titans pass rush can get pressure on a select number of plays and force Luck into a turnover, then that could be decisive in this game.
Titans receivers vs. Colts secondary
Marcus Mariota had an okay game when these teams met in Week 7. He completed 22 of 37 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t get much help from his wide receivers in that game. His two touchdowns went to Taylor Lewan (lol) and Delanie Walker, his leading pass catcher. Tennessee’s three main receivers combined for 10 catches and 108 yards. They couldn’t get much separation against a Colts secondary that had been getting shredded coming into that game.
This game should be different, though. Rishard Matthews has really come on and Kendall Wright is fully healthy and integrated into the offense. Tajae Sharpe has kind of fallen by the wayside, but he did score his first career touchdown last week on a blown coverage. It’s expected that Vontae Davis will cover Sharpe for most of the game, leaving Matthews to do battle with injured Patrick Robinson’s backup. Matthews should be Mariota’s main option, after Delanie Walker, and could be in line for a big game. Wright will get Darius Butler in the slot, a favorable matchup for our dynamic playmaker.
Frank Gore vs. Titans linebackers
Can Gore just retire already? That guy has been a pain in the Titans’ rear end for the past two years. In three games against the Titans as a Colt, Gore has amassed 253 total yards and three touchdowns. Even when you think you have him corralled in the ground game, he kills you in the passing game. We saw that in Week 7 when he caught five passes, one for a touchdown.
The Titans run defense has been exposed since a solid start at the beginning of the season. After getting eviscerated by Melvin Gordon, they let James Starks, who was coming off a multi-week knee injury and was painfully ineffective beforehand, go for 33 rushing yards on just seven carries and score on a reception out of the backfield. Simply put, the Titans linebackers need to tackle better. If they don’t, Gore will grind out yards all day and move the chains frequently. We can’t afford that.