Indianapolis Colts (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Week 3 NFL
Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 1PM EDT
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
IND +5/TEN -5 (Betanysports.eu
The Indianapolis Colts take on the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sunday in week three action. Both teams are making their divisional debuts. Last season, each team won on the road in their divisional series, but a lot has changed since then. The Colts are looking for their first win of the season after falling to the Rams at home on Sunday, 27-24. Tennessee avoided the same fate, winning an overtime war in Seattle, 33-30.
Does Indy Have Much of a Case?
In a word—yes. This game has a sneaky feel to it, almost as if a voice from within doesn’t permit you to write off the Colts. Their run-game, a supposed lynchpin to their offensive success with Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, has been pedestrian. A two-game homestand to begin the season went south amidst a hail of offensive mediocrity. Their secondary has been getting exploited in spots, especially in the red zone. And while some guys step up in the offense and have big games, no one manages to really take center stage as a reliable top performer.
Still, one should expect some urgency at 0-2 and now in a division setting after playing two NFC West opponents. Carson Wentz will be facing a Tennessee defense that has been uneven through two weeks. The big plays have come by the bunches already. Wentz has actually been pretty decent, and while it doesn’t mean much when they’re 0-2, he seems to be getting his legs under him in this new offense a little bit. While no stars have stepped up yet, he does have a varied cast of backs and ball-catchers, a group that was good enough to get into the playoffs last season. Behind this really good offensive line, it stands to reason this is a spot where damage can be done. However, as we saw the first two games, the line has underperformed, leaving Wentz exposed and not springing the run-game. The Rams got to him, and he sprained both ankles. His status for this game is up in the air some, even if coach Frank Reich expressed optimism.
Pros and Cons of the Titans This Week
After a week one home opener dud, last week was huge in righting the ship. The Titans showed a lot of moxie in hanging in there in Seattle after falling behind 24-9. The Titans were able to turn Derrick Henry loose, and when that happens, a lot of their other problems become easier to manage. The bad news for the Colts is that usually after a heavy-usage overtime game where a guy runs the ball 35 times, you can expect some tail-off, but not with Henry. It could just as likely be a sign that he’s kicking it into gear, having strung together monster games like that many other times. And beyond just evening their record at 1-1, the game gave them some confidence and momentum to set the record straight at home this Sunday.
Allowing 68 points in the first two weeks shows a Tennessee defense that has been heading downhill for the last year or so. They still have a big-play component, and we saw them getting after the quarterback better last week, but the big aerial plays are really taking their toll. They deserve a lot of credit for setting up the comeback with a much better second half against the Seahawks on Sunday. The first half didn’t suggest that was in the cards. But against this offensive line and with the sheer variety of different targets coming out of the backfield and at the receiver position, this Tennessee defense will be up against it. And it’s not easy to cover numbers at home when your “D” is yielding one big play after the other.
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Why Indy is a Risky Proposition
It’s hard to laud the defense after losing two games, but allowing 28 to Seattle and 27 to the Rams in a three-point game shows them to be holding their own to some extent. Now with their offense in a spot to potentially offer more support, they could be a key part of this equation. Still, it’s hard not to acknowledge the very apparent gap in offensive firepower. How the recipe resonates on a given week is anyone’s guess, but having Henry and the 1-2 receiver punch of AJ Brown and Julio Jones surpasses what Indy can bring to the table. Just as you start to make a case for the Colts, the mind flashes to images of Henry running loose down the middle of the field, along with Tannehill hitting his proven receivers time and again.
Even if you fancy the Colts in this spot, you have to brace for the possibility of a flat offense showing up. Wentz might have one of those games. You wonder if the never-ending carousel of different guys behind center has caught up with them this season. And Wentz spraining both ankles, leaving the prospects that we could see Jacob Eason doesn’t help. The backfield can stall, as it has in the first two games. The scrappy performance against the Rams is nice, but they’re going to need better this week.
Take the Points
At 1-1 and with hopes of their own, this is not a spot where you’re going to catch the Titans sleeping. It’s still early enough in the season where an OT battle shouldn’t cost them energy-wise. There’s just something about this game that suggests it won’t be the breeze that their disparity in offensive firepower might attest. I sense the Indianapolis defense will be difficult to break. The Tennessee offense and Derrick Henry should be able to get their share of production. Henry might even break off a few big ones. But Indy won’t be pushed over to the extent where the Titans start to run away with it. I see the Colts hanging in there and covering the spread in Nashville. I’ll take Indy.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread:
I’m betting on the Indianapolis Colts plus 5 points.