The Titans are coming into this AFC South clash confident if nothing else. Not only do they already own a 25-16 win over Indianapolis this season, but they’ve just upended two of what are supposed to be the AFC’s elite squads in their last pair of contests.
In a span of six days, Tennessee notched its fourth and fifth victories of the season by edging the Bills, 34-31, in a Monday night Week 6 battle and then shockingly dismantling the Chiefs, 27-3.
In what was Kansas City’s first game without a touchdown since Patrick Mahomes took over the starting job at the beginning of the 2018 season, the previously embattled Titans defense held the Chiefs’ juggernaut to a modest 334 total yards at 4.9 yards per play.
Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, the offense’s two most pivotal pieces, are both coming into the game with momentum. Tannehill put together one of his sharpest performances of the season against the Chiefs, completing 77.8 percent of his 27 attempts for 270 yards and a touchdown while also adding a rushing score.
Henry saw a five-game streak of 100-yard performances snapped in Week 7. However, he still boasts an NFL-high 869 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, and he’s even just one reception away from tying the career-high 19 he notched last season over 16 games.
Meanwhile, over the last several contests, the Colts’ Carson Wentz has picked up the pace in an offensive system he was already familiar with in his Eagles days. Re-acclimated to coach Frank Reich’s scheme, Wentz has a pair of scoring tosses in four straight games and owns an 11:1 TD:INT overall on the season.
Jonathan Taylor has been putting on a pretty good Henry impression out of the backfield as well.
While his rush attempts are still capped just below 20 for the moment, the second-year back has racked up a whopping 252 rushing yards and three touchdowns at a jaw-dropping clip of 7.9 yards per carry in his last pair of contests, both victories where Indy has put up at least 30 points and improved its record to 3-4.
Please note that all odds are current as of 12 PM EST on Friday, October 29.
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Titans vs. Colts Prediction
The Titans have been doing a good job balancing the air attack with Henry’s exploits on the ground despite at times being down at least one of their top two receivers. Tennessee has seen A.J. Brown and Julio Jones miss a total of three full games, but both should be ready for this divisional contest.
While Brown has been dominant over the last pair of contests, in particular, with a 15-224-1 line on 18 targets, Jones continues to be handled carefully due to his history of lower-body injuries.
Outside of a six-catch, 128-yard effort versus the Seahawks in Week 2, Jones hasn’t topped three receptions or 59 yards in any other game and has logged 34 snaps or fewer in each of the last three contests.
Tannehill’s ability to piece together a viable air attack could well be tested in what is often a tough second-game-against-a-divisional-opponent matchup. In the first encounter with the Colts, Tannehill didn’t exactly have the easiest time despite helping author a victory, as Indy limited him to 197 yards and picked him off twice.
Then, while Henry totaled 113 rushing yards against Indy, it took a heavy workload to get there. The star backlogged 28 carries, meaning he was held to 4.0 yards per attempt.
The Colts have been a stingy defense against the run in general, allowing 4.2 running back yards per carry and 111 rushing yards per game overall, with both figures landing them in the top half of the league.
On the other side, Wentz completed a season-low 51.4 percent of his throws against Tennessee in Week 3, but as detailed earlier, he’s been much more effective over the subsequent four contests. He’s also getting plenty of help from Taylor, who already averaged 6.4 yards per carry on his 10 attempts against Tennessee in Week 3.
The Titans are a tough run defense, but they’ve allowed 113.7 rushing yards per contest on the road and are giving up 4.6 running back yards per carry.
Wentz should also have an explosive weapon in the form of T.Y. Hilton back in the fold in Week 8 after the veteran speedster missed Week 7 with a quadriceps injury. Tennessee is still giving up 273.6 passing yards per game, including 288.3 per road contest, and Wentz could be well equipped to exploit that weakness given his recent play.
Both teams are certainly trending in the right direction, but Indy is at home and gaining confidence by the week. These two squads know each other very well, and I see the Colts doing enough to slow down Henry, allowing them to zero in a bit more on Tannehill in the process.
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 27, Tennessee Titans 20
Titans vs. Colts Best Bets
Best Bet: Colts -2.5 (-120) at Caesars
As already detailed in the game prediction, I see the Colts prevailing here in a close win, so this spread is a no-brainer.
Indy is 11-9-1 (55.0 percent) ATS in AFC South contests since the start of Reich’s head coaching tenure in 2018, with a net average margin of victory of 4.1 points and a +1.6-point +/- as far as covering spreads.
Irrespective of the Titans’ recent notable wins, I’m still in the camp of the Colts covering as our NFL pick of the day.
Best Bet: Under 51 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
As outlined in the game prediction, I see both teams generating a decent amount of offense but not exceeding this total.
Five of the Colts’ seven games, including the loss to the Titans in Week 3, have finished under this number.
The Over is also 1-2 in Indy’s home games this season, including 0-2 in its division contests.
These two defenses know the opposing offenses well enough to stall a fair share of drives and keep the total at least slightly under this figure.
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