INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will open up the first half of their AFC South schedule on Sunday afternoon with a road visit to Tennessee.
Despite an 0-2 start, the Colts could find themselves tied atop the division with a win on Sunday.
What should fans be looking for when the Colts head to Nashville in Week Three?
1. Neutralizing Pressure
-The personnel is different from Weeks One and Two, but the defensive blueprint the Colts will likely see on Sunday shouldn't be too unpredictable. The pressure from the Titans will be applied and it's up to the Colts to weather that better than they have in the first two weeks. Pep Hamilton talked on Thursday how staying ahead of schedule on the early downs is a must to avoid those obvious passing situations, when the pass rush is humming.
2. Early Score
-The Colts head into Week Three looking for their first points in an opening half this season. Last year during the Colts five-game winning streak (following the 0-2 start), dominant first quarters were consistent. Particularly in the Titans' home opener on Sunday, an early score from the Colts would somewhat squelch the opportunity Tennessee sees in the AFC South.
3. Disrupting Mariota
-In last week's loss to the Browns, Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked seven times and hit 11 times. That's clearly a high number for a player with Mariota's elusiveness. The Colts have had just one sack and three quarterback hits through two games. An expanded role for Robert Mathis could bring more life to the Colts pass rush.
4. Win Field Position
-In the Colts first two games, they've struggled to win field position. The Jets had a 12-yard advantage in drive start and the Bills had a 16-yard difference against the Colts. This doesn't fall all on the Colts special team units either. The offense and defense certainly has to play their own parts in keeping fields short for Pep Hamilton, and long for Greg Manusky.
5. Cornerback Depth
-Vontae Davis looks good to go for Sunday. After that, the Colts cornerback depth will once again be tested. Jalil Brown and rookie Eric Patterson should get plenty of action. The Titans don't really have a true No. 1 wide receiver with Mariota finding 11 different pass catchers on the year, none of which have caught more than six balls.
6. Tight End Production
-A week where a tight end isn't targeted might not be too noteworthy on other NFL teams. However, in Pep Hamilton's system that is a surprise. Ask Chuck Pagano, Andrew Luck or Hamilton and they all say getting tight ends more involved is a must this week. With Dwayne Allen out for Sunday, that means Coby Fleener should see some more action.
7. Division Dominance
-An 0-2 start has put the Colts behind the eight ball, but they all know the quickest way into the dance. The Colts are the two-time defending AFC South champions and have won 13 straight divisional games (third-longest streak in NFL history). You know that's fresh on the minds of the Titans, who have dropped seven straight to the Colts.