2020 Colts Preview: Colts/Titans, Week 10

Facing a short week after a disappointing home loss to a talented Baltimore Ravens team, the Indianapolis Colts (5-3) travel to take on the AFC South Division-leading Tennessee Titans (6-2) on Thursday Night Football. Check out the official game preview.

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts are hoping to put on a show in their one and only primetime game of the 2020 season.

Facing a short week after a disappointing home loss to a talented Baltimore Ravens team, the Colts (5-3) travel to take on the AFC South Division-leading Tennessee Titans (6-2) on Thursday Night Football.

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

The Colts had one of those "tale of two halves" types of games Sunday in their 24-10 loss to the Ravens at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis took a 10-7 lead going into halftime — Baltimore's lone first-half score coming off a fumble recovery for a touchdown — and had a prime opportunity to add to that lead early in the third quarter when the defense forced and recovered a fumble on a Ravens goal-to-go running play. But on the very next play from scrimmage, Philip Rivers would be intercepted by cornerback Marcus Peters, and Baltimore would eventually cash in yet again, finding the end zone 10 plays later to take a 14-10 lead, and not looking back from there.

After being upset in a Week 8 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Titans hoped to exact some revenge on Sunday at home against the Chicago Bears — and did just that, winning 24-17. Tennessee jumped out to a 24-3 lead by midway through the fourth quarter before the Bears (5-4) decided to make things interesting with two late touchdowns. The Titans had just 228 yards of total offense on the day, but, as they've done all year, they protected the football (zero turnovers) and they were efficient when needed, while the defense also helped matters with a fumble return for a touchdown by cornerback Desmond King II, playing in his first game with the Titans after being acquired via trade just a few days prior.

So what all should we be looking for when this thing kicks off? Here is the official game preview.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Thursday, Nov. 12, at 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Nashville, Tenn.; Nissan Stadium
  • TV: FOX — Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color), Erin Andrews (sideline), Kristina Pink (sideline)
  • Video stream: Amazon Prime Video — Hannah Storm (play-by-play), Andrea Kremer (color)
  • Other radio: Westwood One — Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Tony Boselli (color)
  • Colts Official App (*Geographic and device restrictions apply. Local & primetime games only. Data charges may apply.)
  • Colts.com mobile website (Safari browser ONLY)
  • Yahoo! Sports mobile browser or app
  • Click here for MORE WAYS TO WATCH.
  • To find out what games will be on in your area, click here.
  • Local radio: Colts games can be heard in Indianapolis on 93.5, 107.5 and 1070 The Fan and 97.1 HANK FM, plus the desktop version of Colts.com with Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Rick Venturi (color), Larra Overton (sideline) and Bill Brooks (pregame/postgame analyst) on the call.
  • National radio: Fans can listen to the live local call on Colts.com (desktop only) and NFL Game Pass. Get your free seven-day trial by clicking here.

*Please check your local TV listing to confirm availability. iOS mobile web and app users should "Allow Location Access" (via Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Safari).

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Colts lead, 34-17; Colts are 15-8 all-time on the road against the Titans.
  • Last game — Week 13 of 2019; Titans won, 31-17, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

  • HC Frank Reich
  • OC Nick Sirianni
  • DC Matt Eberflus
  • STC Bubba Ventrone

Titans:

  • HC Mike Vrabel
  • OC Arthur Smith
  • STC Craig Aukerman

(The Titans do not have a defensive coordinator on their coaching staff)

LAST WEEK

Colts:

  • Lost vs. Baltimore Ravens (6-2), 24-10

Titans:

  • Won vs. Chicago Bears (5-4), 24-17

INJURY UPDATE

Colts:

  • OUT — TE Jack Doyle (concussion)
  • DOUBTFUL — N/A
  • QUESTIONABLE — TE Mo Alie-Cox (knee)

Click here to read more on the injury report for Thursday's game.

Titans:

  • OUT — DB Dane Cruikshank (groin); WR Adam Humphries (concussion); TE MyCole Pruitt (knee/ankle); CB Adoree' Jackson (knee)
  • DOUBTFUL — N/A
  • QUESTIONABLE — N/A

STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH

  • Short Week Challenges — Both the Colts and the Titans will be facing off Thursday in Nashville just four days after a couple of physical matchups, with Indianapolis coming off a 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and the Titans coming off a 24-17 win over the Bears. Outside of tight end Jack Doyle, who suffered a concussion against the Ravens and won't be ready to go by Thursday's game, the Colts are in pretty good shape injury-wise heading into this short week, and could even get a major reinforcement on offense if wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who missed the Ravens game with a groin injury, can get back into the lineup. The Titans, meanwhile, are struggling a bit from an injury standpoint: they were already without starting left tackle Taylor Lewan, who was placed on IR on Oct. 19 with a knee injury, but then starting left guard Rodger Saffold couldn't finish Sunday's win over the Bears with a shoulder injury. On the defensive side of the ball, newcomer Jadeveon Clowney and is battling a knee injury that kept the edge rusher out against the Bears. "It's certainly a week of getting your body feeling good enough on Thursday and mentally being tuned in to the plan because you won't get all these live – it's a lot of talking through things," Colts quarterback Philip Rivers said. "This check, that check — you're not going to get to work it live. It's just all condensed and our guys will handle it well."
  • Cut Out The Mistakes — The Colts on Sunday were two key mistakes away from potentially turning a 14-point home loss to the Ravens into, at the very least, a much more heated battle down the stretch, and, at the most, a huge win over one of the best teams in the AFC. The Colts led 7-0 — and were driving for more — late in the first quarter when rookie running back Jonathan Taylor fumbled, which was recovered by safety Chuck Clark and returned 65 yards for a game-tying touchdown; then, the next play after the Indy defense forced and recovered its own fumble on the Ravens on a goal-to-goal running play early in the third quarter with the Colts leading 10-7, quarterback Philip Rivers threw an interception to cornerback Marcus Peters, and 10 plays later Baltimore turned that takeaway into a go-ahead touchdown, and the Ravens wouldn't trail the rest of the game. The Colts simply can't make those kinds of errors against a Titans team that simply hasn't made many mistakes of its own, particularly on offense; Tennessee has turned the ball over just four times all year (three interceptions, one fumble), and has a league-leading +10 turnover differential on the year. The Titans have also scored 36 points off turnovers this season (not counting extra points after touchdowns), which is tied for the eighth most in the NFL. The Colts know the turnover battle will he huge on Thursday; they're 1-2 in games this season in which they've lost the turnover battle, and 4-0 in games in which they've won it.
  • Divisional Ramifications — It's no secret that the Colts have some ground to make up when it comes to the AFC playoff picture. While it's way too early to consider any game a "must-win," a victory over the Titans on Thursday night could go a long way down the road, however. The Colts are currently the ninth seed in the AFC — remember, seven teams from each conference now make the postseason; they're 0-1 in their division, 2-3 in their conference and their strength of schedule to this point isn't helpful at all. A win for the Colts on Thursday night would tie the team with the Titans atop the AFC South standings at 6-3 and give Indy some positive momentum as it continues forging ahead through the toughest part of its schedule, with four divisional games still yet to play. "There is no doubt it's a huge game," head coach Frank Reich said. "We win it, we tie for the lead in our division at 6-3 and with a win over the team that we're tied with if we can pull that off. We know it's another good football team, a team that knows how to win games. That's what we really need to do. We need to prove that we can win these kinds of games against tough teams. I know we have the talent and the players to do it."

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts LG Quenton Nelson vs. Titans DT Jeffrey Simmons — Simmons, the second-year Mississippi State product, will move around the line quite a bit, but a majority of his snaps this season have come on the right side of the defensive line, setting up the possibility for several opportunities against Quenton Nelson, the Colts' two-time All-Pro left guard. A first-round pick in last year's NFL Draft, Simmons wasn't able to make his NFL debut until Week 7 due to a knee injury, and he had just two tackles in his first-ever game against the Colts in Week 13 last year, but he has been absolutely outstanding so far this season, ranking as Pro Football Focus' fourth highest-graded interior defensive lineman (90.1) in the NFL. Simmons on the year has 28 total tackles (two for a loss) with 2.0 sacks, nine quarterback hits, three passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
  • Colts WR DeMichael Harris vs. Titans CB Desmond King II — Two relative newcomers to their respective teams could find themselves playing large roles in Thursday night's game. The undrafted rookie DeMichael Harris last Sunday played in just his second-ever NFL game, and was impressive in a variety of roles, collecting 28 rushing yards on two carries and also hauling in four receptions for 27 yards. Now signed permanently to the Colts' 53-man roster, could Harris play an even bigger role as Indy's primary slot receiver? If he does Thursday night, he'll see a lot of action against cornerback Desmond King II, who was just acquired by the Titans via trade from the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 2, and already made a major impact in his first game for Tennessee on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, returning a fumble 63 yards for a touchdown.
  • Colts CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Titans WR A.J. Brown — The Titans' A.J. Brown has emerged as one of the top young wide receivers in the game, and it could primarily be up to a veteran like Xavier Rhodes to try to slow him down Thursday night. The 2019 second-round pick Brown had a terrific rookie year, with 52 receptions for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns, but was mostly shut down in his first two games against the Colts, finishing with 25 and 45 receiving yards, respectively, and no touchdowns. Brown primarily lines up wide on the left side, which means Rhodes, who plays almost exclusively on the right side, will be lined up against him quite a bit. Rhodes had a solid showing against another top-flight Brown, the Baltimore Ravens' Marquise Brown, last Sunday; Brown caught one pass for 20 yards against Rhodes the entire afternoon, according to PFF.
  • Colts LB Darius Leonard vs. Titans RB Derrick Henry — "I tell him he's a defensive end playing running back." That's how Darius Leonard describes Titans running back Derrick Henry — and Leonard isn't stretching the truth, considering Henry stands at 6-foot-3 and is listed at 247 pounds. The Colts, of course, have one of the league's top rushing defenses, but it was Henry who snapped Indy's streak of 29 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher back in their Week 13 loss to the Titans last year; Henry that day had 26 carries for 149 yards and added a receiving touchdown in Tennessee's 31-17 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. One has to imagine Leonard and the Indy defense remembers that day well, and will do everything they can to prevent a repeat performance this year against the league's reigning rushing champion.

REFEREE ASSIGNMENT

BETTING LINE

REGULAR SEASON LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Philip Rivers (2,087 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Jonathan Taylor (416 yards)
  • Receiving — WR Zach Pascal (297 yards)
  • Touchdowns — RB Nyheim Hines, RB Jonathan Taylor (4 each)
  • Tackles — LB Darius Leonard (51)
  • Sacks — Denico Autry (5.0)
  • Interceptions — S Julian Blackmon, CB T.J. Carrie, CB Kenny Moore II, CB Xavier Rhodes (2 each)

Titans:

  • Passing — QB Ryan Tannehill (1,981 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Derrick Henry (843 yards)
  • Receiving — WR A.J. Brown (457 yards)
  • Touchdowns — RB Derrick Henry (8)
  • Tackles — LB Jayon Brown (65)
  • Sacks — LB Harold Landry (2.5)
  • Interceptions — CB Malcolm Butler, S Amani Hooker (2 each)

COMPARING 2020 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 18th (360.5 YPG)
  • Scoring — 15th (26.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 14th (258.1 YPG)
  • Sack percentage allowed — 1st (2.86)
  • Rushing offense — 23rd (102.4 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 28th (38.00 percent)
  • Red zone offense — 24th (57.14 percent)
  • Total defense — 1st (290.0 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 3rd (20.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 3rd (206.4 YPG)
  • Sacks — Tied-12th (20)
  • Rushing defense — 3rd (83.6 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 17th (41.51 percent)
  • Red zone defense — Tied-19th (66.67 percent)
  • Time of possession — 11th (31:11)
  • Turnover differential — Tied-6th (+4)

Titans:

  • Total offense — 10th (384.6 YPG)
  • Scoring — 7th (29.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 20th (237.0 YPG)
  • Sack percentage allowed — 10th (4.71)
  • Rushing offense — 6th (147.6 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 8th (46.39 percent)
  • Red zone offense — 2nd (80.00 percent)
  • Total defense — 25th (394.1 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — Tied-15th (25.1 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 27th (275.0 YPG)
  • Sacks — 29th (10)
  • Rushing defense — 18th (119.1 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 32nd (55.36 percent)
  • Red zone defense — 31st (79.31 percent)
  • Time of possession — 29th (27:46)
  • Turnover differential — 1st (+10)

NOTES AND QUOTES

  • With one game played, cornerback T.J. Carrie will reach 100 career games played.
  • With one interception returned for a touchdown, cornerback T.J. Carrie, cornerback Kenny Moore II and/or cornerback Xavier Rhodes will tie numerous players for the second-most interceptions returned for a touchdown (two) in single-season franchise history.
  • With one touchdown, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will pass Dallas Clark (46) for the 11thmost total touchdowns in team history. With one receiving touchdown, Hilton will tie Clark (46) for the sixth-most receiving touchdowns in team history.
  • With 96 scrimmage yards, Hilton will reach 9,000 career scrimmage yards.
  • With one game with 10+ receptions, Hilton will pass Don McCauley, Lydell Mitchell, Joe Washington, Anthony Johnson and Dallas Clark, all with three, for the third-most games with 10+ receptions in team history.
  • With nine receptions, running back Nyheim Hines will tie Reggie Wayne (144) for the seventh-most receptions by a Colts player in their first three seasons.
  • With one safety, defensive end Justin Houston will tie Ted Hendricks, Doug English and Jared Allen (four) for the most safeties in NFL history.
  • With one game with 400+ passing yards, quarterback Philip Rivers will tie Ben Roethlisberger (12) for the fourth-most games with 400+ passing yards in NFL history.
  • With four passing yards, Rivers will pass Dan Marino (61,361) for the fifth-most passing yards in NFL history.
  • "Man, that's a great question. I think it's physical, I think it's fast and I think it's stop the run. Obviously, that's going to be really put to the test this week. I think they're playing as a unit. You feel the confidence, you feel the swagger, you feel the togetherness of that unit. They take a lot of pride in the way they're playing right now. So really excited, I mean obviously this is going to be an incredibly tough team we're going against. We're going up against a great offense that can not only run the ball, but has a very good passing attack as well. It will be a good challenge." — Colts head coach Frank Reich, on what he believes the hallmark of his defense is through the first half of the season.
  • "It's tough. We know how teams play us when I'm not out there. They play completely different than when I'm out there. My presence alone speaks for itself, so I just have to find a way to get back out on the field and change the game." — Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, on what he feels in games like Sunday's against the Ravens when he has to watch from the sidelines with an injury.
  • "I just hate losing. Even though we did stop the run, but in my mind – I don't care if it's all of them together. It should be under 100. That's my mindset every game. They should not rush over 100 yards no matter who it is. I didn't think that we played well enough to stop the Baltimore Ravens' run game. I think they had 110, and a lot of that came from quarterback runs. This week right here, like I said earlier with (Ryan) Tannehill, he does a lot of play-action. When he's scrambling, he's scrambling to throw and he scrambles to run like Lamar (Jackson) did. We have to be on our keys. We have to be able to stop that if we want to get to that goal with less than 100 rushing yards. If you want to win this game, you have to stop the run." — Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, on what he wanted to see improve in the run defense following Sunday's Ravens loss.
  • "One of the biggest things is understanding that we have guys that are more than capable. I know you guys just mentioned a little bit ago, you'd have about 15-plus carries in college, but the beauty about this thing is everyone here is at the highest level of football are really good football players. No matter if it's your number being called or someone else's number being called, they are more than capable of being able to make that play and make a big play. I think the biggest thing is understanding whether it's first half, second half, whenever number 28 is called, I have to make sure I know my assignment, I know my job and I'm able to execute at a high level because the team is counting on me." — Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, on his reaction to getting fewer opportunities in the second half of games lately.

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