NFL Thursday Night Football: Titans/Colts Preview

by Alec McMordie

First place in the AFC South will be on the line for Thursday Night Football in a showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans.

Tennessee claimed first place in the division on Sunday with their 24-17 victory at home against Chicago as a 6.5-point favorite. That win snapped a two-game losing streak and raised their record to a 6-2 mark. The Titans won that game despite being outgained by 147 net yards. Tennessee scored on a 63-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that turned out to be the difference in the game.

The Titans’ signature victory this season was their 42-16 upset victory at home against Buffalo as a 3-point underdog in their first game back after the COVID outbreak that hit their team. Tennessee is outscoring their opponents by +3.9 points-per-game, but they are getting outgained by -10.2 net yards-per-game. The Titans have benefited from a +10 net turnover margin as they have only turned the ball over four times. Tennessee is seventh in the NFL with a 29.0 points-per-game scoring average, yet they have seen that mark drop to just a 22.7 points-per-game average in their last three games. Their 320.3 yards-per-game average on offense in those games is more than 63 yards-per-game below their season average.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has thrown 19 touchdown passes to just three interceptions. He is completing 65.7% of his passes for 1981 yards with a 7.8 yards-per-attempt average. Running back Derrick Henry has rushed for 843 yards on 182 carries for a 4.6 yards-per-carry average. He has scored ten touchdowns on the ground.

Indianapolis saw their record drop to a 5-3 mark on Sunday with their 24-10 loss at home to Baltimore as a 1-point favorite. The Colts outgained the Ravens by 139 net yards but could not overcome a 65-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown scored by the Baltimore defense. Indianapolis’ offense was only on the field for 26:34 minutes of the game.

Colts’ quarterback Philip Rivers completed 25 of 43 passes for 227 yards with an interception in the defeat. Rivers is completing 67.9% of his passes this season for 2087 yards with a 7.6 yards-per-attempt average. The veteran has thrown ten touchdown passes along with seven interceptions.

Indianapolis leads the NFL in total defense as they hold their opponents to 290.0 yards-per-game. The Colts are outscoring their opponents by 6.0 points-per-game while outgaining them by 70.5 net yards-per-game. However, Indianapolis’ strength-of-schedule has been questionable, with their victory over Chicago being their lone victory over a team with a winning record. Their wins against the Vikings, Jets, Bears, Bengals, and Lions are against a group of teams with a combined 13-28-1 record.

These two teams split their two divisional meetings last year, with the road team winning in both instances. The Colts upset the Titans in Nashville on September 15th by a 19-17 score before Tennessee returned the favor in Indianapolis on December 1st with their 31-17 victory.

Indianapolis will be without tight end Jack Doyle who is still recovering from a concussion. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton practiced this week and will return to the field after being out with a groin injury. Tennessee will be without wide receiver Adam Humphries as he recovers from a concussion, along with cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, who is dealing with a knee injury. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney should play tonight after practicing on Tuesday and Wednesday despite his knee issue.

BookMaker currently lists Indianapolis as a 1-point favorite with the total set at 48.5. The kickoff on Fox and the NFL Network is at 8:20 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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