2019 Colts Preview: Colts/Titans, Week 2

2018_1118_TEN_3823

INDIANAPOLIS — It's the first AFC South divisional matchup of the year as the Indianapolis Colts (0-1) take on the red-hot Tennessee Titans (1-0) down at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.

The Colts will look to rebound from an overtime loss in which the outcome could have been much different last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, and there's no better time to do that than against a rival of which they are very familiar.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. ET
  • Nashville; Nissan Stadium
  • TV: CBS — Spero Dedes (play-by-play) and Adam Archuleta (color)
  • Watch the Colts on Yahoo Sports or the Colts app, free on your phone or tablet. *Geographic and device restrictions apply. Local & primetime games only. Data charges may apply.
  • Click here for more ways to watch.
  • To find out what games will be on in your area, check here
  • Radio: WFNI “1070 The Fan” and WLHK “HANK FM” — Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Jim Sorgi (color) and Larra Overton (sideline) | Sports USA — Larry Kahn (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (color) and Troy West (sideline)

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Colts lead, 33-15 (0-1 in the playoffs), and have won the last two matchups. The Colts have won 13 of the last 15 dating back to 2011.
  • Last game — Week 17 of 2018. Colts won, 33-17.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

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

Titans:

  • HC Mike Vrabel
  • OC Arthur Smith
  • DC Dean Pees
  • STC Craig Aukerman

LAST WEEK

Colts:

  • Lost @ Los Angeles Chargers (1-0), 30-24 (OT)

Titans:

  • Won @ Cleveland Browns (0-1), 43-13

INJURY UPDATE

Colts:

  • OUT — DE Jabaal Sheard (knee), RB Jonathan Williams (rib)
  • DOUBTFUL — DE Kemoko Turay (neck)

Titans:

  • OUT — LB Reggie Gilbert (knee), OL Kevin Pamphile (knee)
  • QUESTIONABLE — RB David Fluellen (hamstring)

STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH

  • Establishing Marlon Mack And The Run Game — The Colts' offense is at its most potent when it is running the ball effectively. We saw it in the second half of last season, and Indy ran for 203 yards last week against the Chargers. In two games against Tennessee last year, the Colts ran the ball an average of 32 times for 130 yards and 1.5 touchdowns. The Colts are also on the heels of a career day from reigning NFL FedEx Ground Player of the Week Marlon Mack, who ran for 174 yards. The Titans run more of a methodical, chain-moving offense, so if the Colts can control the clock then it puts pressure on Tennessee to have to capitalize on every possession.
  • Stepping In For Devin Funchess — New Colts' No. 2 receiver Devin Funchess was placed on injured reserve this week after breaking a collarbone against the Chargers. The depth behind him in rookie Parris Campbell, Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal him will need to step up, but Deon Cain may be the biggest "next man up" in this equation, as his size, speed and ability to win contested catches makes him an ideal replacement for Funchess. “Yeah, obviously I was behind him the whole time. So now it’s just time for me to make step-plays and other guys to make plays too,” Cain told reporters this week.
  • Rookie Contributions — The Colts' rookie class saw plenty of action last week, as Campbell, Ben Banogu, Bobby Okereke, Khari Willis and Rock Ya-Sin all got on the field, and that is expected to continue this week. “Yeah, they earned it," Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus told reporters this week of the defensive rookies playing in Week 1. "Rock is in there playing, Bobby was in there playing, Khari – they’re all in there playing. Ben was in there playing a lot. So we got those guys some great work and some great snaps. Those guys are going to be a big part of who we are this year and the only way to get better is to play. Those guys are going to continue to play. We’re excited where they are and they are just going to get better and better as they get more experience.”
  • Cleaning It Up — There were some self-inflicted wounds by the Colts last week that hurt them in their bid to win the game. They were sharp in some key areas such as third and fourth down (combined 57.1 percent), were only called for three penalties and committed no turnovers, but they struggled to stop the Chargers on third down (63.6 percent), and they allowed 435 yards of offense. They also missed an extra point and two field goal attempts. If the Colts can tighten up their discipline on defense and clean up the special teams issues (more on that below), then they give themselves a much better chance at victory on Sunday.
  • Adam Vinatieri's Rebound? — Continuing on the theme of cleaning it up, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is ready to put last week behind him after a week of extra work. His head coach Frank Reich isn't worried about his kicker moving forward: “Everybody probably has their different philosophies on how they handle that. In this particular instance with Adam — there is not a whole lot of detail to go into — it was more like I walk by him, ‘Hey, you good?’ ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ ‘Let’s go. Let’s move on and let’s get the next one.’ So we just have to keep things in perspective on who we are talking about here – that’s just my opinion.”
  • First AFC South Tilt Of The Season — The Colts, Titans and Houston Texans all went down to the wire for playoff positioning late last season, and the Jacksonville Jaguars had an uncharacteristically poor year. It seems likely they could come back toward the middle, so each AFC South matchup this season matters. There is clear importance to the Colts notching one in the "win" column in the divisional standings this early in the season.
  • Early-Season Road Matchups — The Colts started the season out in Los Angeles against the Chargers, and they remain on the road in Week 2. While they get two road matchups out of the way right off the bat, it also tests them early.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Titans CB Adoreé Jackson — Jackson did not have a good time against the Colts last year, especially when matched up with Hilton. In the two matchups, Jackson allowed 13 catches (16 targets) for 223 yards (17.2 avg) and two touchdowns. Hilton accounted for nine of those catches for 164 yards (18.2 avg) and both scores. Hilton is already off to a hot start this season after scoring two touchdowns last week.
  • Colts OTs Anthony Castonzo/Braden Smith vs. Titans EDs Cameron Wake/Harold Landry — The Colts have a really nice pair of tackles in Castonzo and Smith, but they'll be up against one of the best pass rushing tandems the Titans have put on the field in awhile. Wake is one of the NFL's most accomplished sack artists over the last decade, and like Smith, Landry will be looking to make a sophomore jump.
  • Colts DE Al-Quadin Muhammad/Ben Banogu vs. Titans OT Dennis Kelly — Like they faced last week against the Chargers, the Titans are without their starting left tackle as Taylor Lewan sits out under suspension. That means young Colts defensive ends Muhammad and Ben Banogu (Kemoko Turay is doubtful with a neck injury), who often line up against the left tackle, will be looked to take advantage of their matchup. Muhammad (one sack last week) and Banogu (half-sack) both were productive last week against the Chargers and could be in line for similar fortunes this week.
  • Colts CB Pierre Desir vs. Titans WR Corey Davis — Desir has done a great job in his time with the Colts of matching up with opposing receivers who possess size and length, and this will be a tall task against Davis. Heading into Year 3, Davis, a former top-five draft pick, is expected to take another big step forward and firmly establish himself as Tennessee's top dog. However, he struggled to make an impact last week and caught none of his three targets. According to Pro Football Focus, none of the three were considered catchable.

REFEREE ASSIGNMENT

BETTING LINE

REGULAR SEASON LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (190 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (174 yards)
  • Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (87 yards)
  • Touchdowns — WR T.Y. Hilton (2)
  • Tackles — LB Darius Leonard (8)
  • Sacks — DE Justin Houston, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE Kemoko Turay (1.0)
  • Interceptions — S Malik Hooker (1)

Titans:

  • Passing — QB Marcus Mariota (248 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Derrick Henry (84 yards)
  • Receiving — WR A.J. Brown (100 yards)
  • Touchdowns — RB Derrick Henry, TE Delanie Walker (2)
  • Tackles — CB Logan Ryan, S Kenny Vaccaro (8)
  • Sacks — ED Cameron Wake (2.5)
  • Interceptions — CB Malcolm Butler, S Kevin Byard, CB Logan Ryan (1)

COMPARING 2019 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 15th (376.0 YPG)
  • Scoring — Tied-17th (24.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 27th (173.0 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed — 16th (2)
  • Running offense — 2nd (203.0 YPG)
  • Third down offense — Tied-7th (54%)
  • Red zone offense — 14th (66.7%)
  • Total defense — 24th (435.0 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — Tied-25th (30.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 21st (310.0 YPG)
  • Sacks — Tied-7th (4)
  • Running defense — 23rd (125.0 YPG)
  • Third down defense — Tied-28th (64%)
  • Red zone defense — 20th (66.7%)
  • Time of possession — 10th (32:09)
  • Turnover differential — 9th (+2)

Titans:

  • Total offense — 23rd (339.0 YPG)
  • Scoring — 2nd (43.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 22nd (216.0 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed — Tied-20th (4)
  • Running offense — Tied-10th (123.0 YPG)
  • Third down offense — Tied-28th (20%)
  • Red zone offense — 9th (75%)
  • Total defense — 15th (346.0 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 6th (13.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 15th (244.0 YPG)
  • Sacks — Tied-2nd (5)
  • Running defense — 16th (102.0 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 1st (10%)
  • Red zone defense — 31st (100%)
  • Time of possession — 22nd (29:18)
  • Turnover differential — 1st (+3)

NOTES AND QUOTES

  • This week, the Colts made the following moves: elevated safety Rolan Milligan to the 53-man roster from the practice squad, and signed running back Bruce Anderson III to the practice squad.
  • Reich on how exotic the Titans' defense is: “Their defense ranks high on the exotic scale. Sometimes offensive coordinators refer to it as a rolodex kind of defense meaning he’s calling something different on every play, just dial up the next card, the next call. They do it well. So that’s part of their DNA and that’s who he has been.”
  • Hilton needs two touchdowns to pass Alan Ameche (44) for the 12th-most total touchdowns in team history. Also, with one game with 10-plus 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-plus receptions in franchise history.
  • Colts tight end Jack Doyle needs 39 receiving yards to pass Tom Mitchell (1,786) for the seventh-most receiving yards by a tight end in Colts' franchise history.
  • Colts tight end Eric Ebron needs two receiving touchdowns to pass Jack Doyle (14) for the eighth-most receiving touchdowns by a tight end in franchise history.

NEXT WEEK

Colts:

  • Atlanta Falcons (home)

Titans:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (away)

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