Indianapolis Colts (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
NFL Football Week 3
Date/Time: Sunday September 27th, 2015 - 1:00PM EST
Where: LP Field Nashville, T.N.
by Jay, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Colts -3/Titans +3
Over/Under Total: 45
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Last Monday night the Indianapolis Colts fell to 0-2 on the season in a 20-7 loss to the New York Jets. It was the 2nd straight horrible performance by the Colts offense who was expected to be one of the better groups in the league. This Sunday the Colts look to regroup in what promises to be an important early season AFC South matchup with the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. At 0-2, the Colts cannot afford to dig an even deeper hole to start the season while the Titans look to finally emerge out of the pits of the AFC South.
The Titans also suffered a loss last week in a 28-14 defeat in Cleveland. After blowing out Tampa Bay in the opener behind a brilliant performance from rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, The Titans put the ball on the ground 3 times that resulted in turnovers to Cleveland. Mariota still had a decent performance hitting 21 of 37 passing for 257 yards with 2 touchdowns to keep his impressive rookie start intact. In fact, the rest of the Titans offense was pretty solid as well considering the ground game got a big boost from tailback Dexter McCluster who racked up 98 yards on 10 touches.
The Titans have not had much of a running threat over the last few seasons even though Bishop Sankey has had his moments. Therefore to see McCluster have a great outing is encouraging as this Titans offense continues to try and build. Obviously the more presence of a running threat will make things a bit easier for Mariota. With that being said, Mariota has not looked anything like a rookie through his first two games. There has been an ugly throw here or there but I am encouraged by the decision making behind his throws. The young Titans quarterback is making good decisions which he showed throughout his career at Oregon where he threw just 14 picks in 3 full seasons.
If Mariota continues to play well, then this Titans team has a chance to be pretty good this year with the improvements they have made on the defensive side of the ball. Through the first two games of the year the Titans rank 4th in total defense. Obviously they have not played the best offenses but it will be interesting to see if they can continue to frustrate a Colts offense that is definitely struggling. Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has gotten off to a horrible start with 5 interceptions already through the first two games. Luck has completed just 54.7% passing and his throws were noticeably off in Monday nights game against the Jets.
Surely it does not help to have star wide out T.Y Hilton banged up and not at 100%. However, that is no excuse for the way the Colts have looked through the opening two weeks of the season. Perhaps the only positive note from Monday nights debacle was the play of running back Frank Gore. Gore ran hard and looked to have an extra step in quickness than he has shown in the last couple years. I believe the lack of a running threat has held the Colts offense back in recent years despite Lucks productivity. Gore had some really nice runs that kept getting called back due to holding penalties but I believe they now have a back that they can rely on with some consistency barring the holding penalties.
Either way I think the Colts should really put some focus on Gore this week to help the offense get back into a rhythm. The Titans struggled heavily against the run in 2014 and while they are improved; they are still suspect to the ground attack. The good news for Colts fans is that they are in the perfect spot from a positional and trend standpoint. Obviously it would be surprising to see the Colts drop another game to go down 0-3 on the season especially considering their dominance against AFC South rivals. Indianapolis is a perfect 13-0 against AFC South teams in the last 13 games and has amazingly covered the number in 12 of those games as well.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Call me crazy but I think the Colts streak over AFC South teams ends this week. The Titans are showing vast improvements on both sides of the ball while I have not seen anything encouraging from the Colts thus far. I hate to judge this off of just two games this season but until I am proven wrong, I like the Titans +3
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