Know Thy Enemy: Indianapolis Colts

The newest edition of Know Thy Enemy enters divisional territory in the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts, fresh off their loss to the Rams, travel to Nashville for their first game against the Tennessee Titans. Can they escape all the bachelorette parties and honky tonks despite a crazy quarterback situation? The Titans want to put on a show with so many legendary Oilers alumni in town. Who will gain the upper hand in an eminently winnable division? 

Previous KTE editions

Know Thy Enemy: Seattle Seahawks

Key Numbers + Info (2021 season)

Record: 0-2 (0-0 AFC South)

Points scored: 40

PPG: 20

Points allowed: 55

PPGa: 27.5

Yards per rush: 4.0

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 4.3

Avg. rush yards per game: 111

Rrush yards per game allowed: 120.5

Rushing TDs: 0 for, 1 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 234

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 255.5

Passing TDs: 3 for, 6 against

Pass Completion Rate: 64%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 70%

Top Rusher: Jonathan Taylor (32 attempts for 107 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Leading Receiver: Michael Pittman, Jr (11 receptions for 152 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Top Tackler: Khari Willis (15 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, one pass defense)

Key Additions: QB Carson Wentz, OL Eric Fisher, OT Julien Davenport, RB Marlon Mack, CB TJ Carrie, EDGE Kwity Paye (rookie), S Andrew Sendejo, WR Mike Strachan (rookie), TE Kylen Granson (rookie)

Key Losses: QB Philip Rivers (retired), OT Anthony Castonzo (retired), DL Denico Autry, T.Y. Hilton (injured), OT Sam Tevi (injured), WR Dezmon Patmon (injured), QB Sam Ehlinger (injured)

Series History

Indianapolis leads the series 35-18

Keys to a Titans Victory

Get AJ Brown Back to Form 

The third-year star receiver had a rough outing against Seattle and hasn’t connected effectively with Ryan Tannehill to begin 2021. Julio Jones got going last week, snagging over 100 yards and a questionable touchdown reversal. It could be time for Brown to get going versus a weakened Colts secondary susceptible to the big play. He’s more than capable of generating monstrous YAC on any play. In Brown’s case, he has been massaging a knee injury which has repeatedly placed him on the injury report. Can the star join Julio in scaring the Colts defense this week? 

Establish. The. Run

Derrick Henry appeared to generate very little production until the second half last week. He single-handedly outgained the entire Seahawks offense by himself in the three quarters. The King faces a much stiffer test in the Colts front seven who could have an argument that they are better than Seattle’s front. The Titans’ best offense features a ton of play-action concepts due to the defense’s fear of Henry’s punitive retribution. Tennessee’s offensive line is a bit banged up and Todd Downing’s play-calling capabilities are somewhat in question, however. 

Pressure the QB 

Indianapolis has a severe issue at quarterback, regardless of Carson Wentz’s status (he has injuries to BOTH ankles). Wentz has continued the poor run of form that plagued him from his Philly disillusionment. If he can’t go on Sunday, then frequent signee Brett Hundley would get the nod over current backup Jacob Eason. Not to mention, the glaring issues on the line that Eric Fisher and Quenton Nelson don’t occupy. Fisher is just coming off a serious knee injury and Nelson is coming off a stint on the COVID list. Both players proved capable last week but their linemates did not. Tennessee would be wise to apply a ton of pressure on the right side to see if they can crack them. Enter former Colt Denico Autry to do the job.  

Keys to a Colts Victory

Target the left side of the OL

The last time we saw Taylor Lewan, he was being utterly emasculated and delineated into rookie mincemeat by Chandler Jones in week one. He was a last-minute inactive due to a knee injury suffered in pregame warmups last week. Although he practiced fully for multiple days this week, it appears that he isn’t as ready to return to full fitness from the ACL injury suffered last season. Tennessee has a new (old) fire to put out on the line as left guard Rodger Saffold exited the game last week due to injury. It’s gotten to the point that Tennessee might have to rely on backup caliber players at both tackle spots, Ben Jones being a constant injury worry, and regressed right guard. Enter a venomous and fierce Colts’ front seven featuring DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard, Kwity Paye, and Bobby Okereke.

Get Titans Killer Jack Doyle Going

The former Tennessee Titans tight end has carved out a starring role for the hated rival Colts. He’s been a frequent bugaboo for the Titans due to their inability to cover the tight end for whatever reason. Indy would be wise to use him due to a lack of other receiving weapons outside of its running backs (they are very good at receiving) and a solitary threat in Michael Pittman, Jr. Unfortunately, the Titans get back linebacker Jayon Brown so he will be a boon for the much-maligned Tennessee defense.  

Run the Ball. A Lot

The best way to protect a less-than-ideal quarterback situation? Run the ball. Fortunately for the Colts, they have one of the best young running backs in the game in Jonathan Taylor. Whoever starts for them isn’t the best of options even if Wentz can go. The mere threat of Taylor and Marlon Mack should neutralize a frugal and anemic Titans pass rush. 

Injury Report

What are the odds?

Caesars has the Titans as 5.5 point favorites at -110 while the Colts are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 48 even. The money line is the Titans at -250 and the Colts at +205.

BetMGM has the Titans as 5.5 point favorites at -105 while the Colts are +115 dogs. The over/under has been set at 47.5. The money line is the Titans at -250 and the Colts at +200.

Prediction

INDIANAPOLIS 28

Tennessee 24

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