TNF Pick: Colts vs. Titans 11/12/20
Indianapolis Colts (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (6-2 SU, 3-5 ATS)
Week 10 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, November 12, 2020 at 8:20PM EST
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Point Spread: IND +2.5/TEN -2.5 (GTBets - 100% Bonus up to $500! Real Cash, not a crappy match play/free play bonus!)
Over/Under Total: 49
The Indianapolis Colts take on the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football in an AFC South battle that could have major ramifications. Tennessee was able to shoot into first place last week with a nice 24-17 win over the Chicago Bears. They were fairly-dominant in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggested. The Colts failed to keep pace, losing an ugly one at home on Sunday to the Ravens, 24-10. Losing to the Ravens is no great shame perhaps, but a scoreless second half after leading in the second quarter was difficult to watch for Colts’ fans and backers. They hope for better this week in a win that would put them atop the division.
Titans Back On-Point?
The Titans had two losses in a row heading into Sunday’s game, losing to the Steelers and Bengals. So Sunday’s win over a dangerous Bears’ team was needed to stay on the up-and-up. The loss to Cincy was bad but came after a tough stretch of games, including a war with the Steelers the previous week and a bunch of hard-fought battles leading up to that. They seemed more-lively on Sunday, despite not finishing with much flair. With just over five minutes to go, they were up 24-3, with two late Chicago TDs narrowing the gap.
At any rate, the Titans have shown their teeth this season, with a big win over Buffalo and some impressive performances over the course of the season. In many ways, they picked up where they left off last season under bright head coach Mike Vrabel. They have a difference-making back in Derrick Henry, who is the most impactful runner in the league. With Tannehill finding a second home in Nashville and other playmakers on both sides of the ball, they’ve shown they are a dangerous team that can hang with anyone in this conference.
Trouble for Tennessee?
Granted, it has been a short window, hardly enough to draw any major conclusions, but the Titans’ offense has been a bit deflated over the last several weeks. On Sunday, they only had 11 first downs, with their defense scoring once, as newly-acquired Desmond King ran a fumble back for a TD. Henry was pretty flat, and Tannehill completed only ten balls. That alone equals a pretty flat offense, and the truth is we’ve seen a pretty unimpressive Tannehill the last several weeks. That really doesn’t bode well going against a fast and attacking Indy defense that can really bring things like to the surface.
Is Indy’s Offense in Trouble?
After eight games, it’s fair to say the Colts’ offense has seen an upgrade with Philip Rivers at the helm. Not having Marlon Mack in there has hurt, as they still have talented backs, but more multi-dimensional backs who catch passes and do some other things. Jonathan Taylor has fallen on hard times, and his fumble was run back for a TD in a play that really changed the game’s complexion on Sunday. And Rivers’ aerial package has some depth and variety while lacking a real identity. Different guys step up in different weeks, and it’s unclear who “the man” is with five different ball-catchers all in the 200’s in receiving yardage this season. On top of all that, between the miscues of Rivers and ball-handling snafus of a bunch of young players, there is a mistake-prone vibe that follows this offense weekly, threatening to sabotage a game without warning.
Hope for the Colts in this Matchup?
The Colts have many of their hopes hinged on a defense that does a lot of things right. With Darius Leonard back and in full-swing, they have a lot of their bite back. Even with an offense that stopped carrying their share of the load, the Indy “D” held up against Baltimore, allowing just 256 yards with only Lamar Jackson really having any production on the Ravens’ offense. They have allowed only 20 points a game on average and even split a pair of games with the Titans last season when both teams were at different stations in life.
You wonder if there’s a little fatigue in the Titans’ legs. Henry has been sedated in two of his last three games. Tannehill seems a little strapped for aerial firepower the last few weeks, with the front not really playing at its best. We just saw Indianapolis stifling a Baltimore offense that hasn’t been firing on all cylinders but still has more weapons than the Tennessee offense. Sure, Henry looms as a major factor in this game, and he really romped against this Indy “D” in their last matchup, but maybe this isn’t the best defense for an off-key Tennessee offense to be playing this week, even at home.
Take the Road Dog
I think the Colts might be more of the X-factor in this matchup, and if they played like they did last week, this could quickly go awry. But I don’t think they will, largely because of a Titans’ defense that should allow them to move the ball on offense, in addition to a stifling and playmaking “D” of their own that could be tough on a Tennessee offense that hasn’t seemed that solid in recent weeks. It has the looks of a close divisional game between two teams who might be battling it out for division supremacy right down to the wire. Sure, the most compelling offensive player in this matchup is on the Tennessee sideline, and the Titans’ playmaking element on defense could surface against the error-prone Colts, but I see Indianapolis hanging in there and covering the spread on Sunday.
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