Monday Night Football Primer Colts at Titans
Spread: Titans -6.5 | Over/Under: 46
Monday Night Football in Week 6 features an all AFC South clash, as the 3-2 Tennessee Titans welcome the 2-3 Indianapolis Colts to Nashville. The Colts have pretty much dominated this rivalry, holding a 31-14 all-time advantage. You have to go all the way back to Week 8 of the 2011 season to find the last Titans victory over the Colts when 224 yards and a touchdown from Matt Hasselbeck (who would later join the Colts as the backup to Andrew Luck) helped the home team to a 27-10 victory. That was 12 matches ago.
With Marcus Mariota still bothered by the hamstring injury he suffered in the Week 4 loss to the Texans, Matt Cassel is likely to once again start at quarterback for the Titans. He completed 21 of his 32 attempts against the Dolphins last week for a miserable 141 yards and a solitary touchdown but was sacked six times. The Colts have held opposing quarterbacks to less than 295 passing yards just once this season, and have allowed multiple passing scores in their last three outings.
Like the Titans, the Colts will also be missing their franchise quarterback, as Andrew Luck continues to miss time in his recovery from shoulder surgery. Jacoby Brissett, whom the team acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots just before the season, is 2-2 as a starter. He has thrown for 997 yards and two touchdowns in his four starts; with a further three scores on the ground. The Titans held Jay Cutler to just 92 passing yards last week, but in their four previous games, they allowed an average of 285 yards through the air, while giving up four touchdown passes in weeks 3 and 4.
Demarco Murray is the leading rusher for the Titans with 273 yards on the ground, but 75 of those yards (27.4%) came on a single run against the Seahawks. He also has ten receptions for 39 yards. Derrick Henry has 187 yards of his own on his 43 rushing attempts, but just a solitary catch on the season. The Colts have held four of their five opponent’s tailbacks to 77 yards or less this season, but have still allowed an average of 25.44 fantasy points per game to running backs in 2017.
One of the true iron men of the NFL, Frank Gore continues to see the volume for the Colts but is struggling to put up serious numbers. His 239 rushing yards have come at the pedestrian rate of 3.2 yards per attempt. Rookie Marlon Mack has 112 yards on 25 carries, with 91 of the yards coming on nine carries against the 49ers last week. Running backs have seen an average of 25.4 rushing attempts against the Titans so far this season, but the team has only allowed two running backs rushing scores.
The Titans made it a point of emphasis to bolster their wide receiving corps this past offseason, and they certainly added some players of note. However, free agent Eric Decker and rookies Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor have not made much of an impact so far. They have combined for a total of 28 catches and 283 yards through five weeks, with no touchdowns. Rishard Matthews, something of a breakout star in 2016, has continued to be the most reliable wideout on the roster. He has 20 grabs for 284 yards and a touchdown this season. Wide receivers are averaging 12.4 catches and 192 yards against the Colts so far this season. But the Colts have not allowed a wide receiver to catch a touchdown in their last two games.
If only everything in life was as reliable as T.Y. Hilton. Despite his having yet to link up with Andrew Luck this season, Hilton has shown signs of starting to get his season going over recent weeks. His 466 receiving yards are 292 more than any other player on the Colts. Wide receivers have put up at least 165 yards against the Titans in four of their five games this season, while the Titans have allowed multiple receiving scores to the position in three of those contests.
Delanie Walker, for so long the most reliable weapon at the Titans disposal, has shown little sign of breaking down so far this season. His 21 catches are good for a team lead; while only Rishard Matthews has more receiving yards than Walker’s 244. He has yet to catch a touchdown this season but has rushed for one. Rookie Jonnu Smith has been steady if not spectacular in the early months of his NFL career, with two touchdowns among his eight receptions this season. The Colts have allowed a tight end receiving touchdown in each of their last three games while allowing at least 62 yards in four of their five games.
After a concussion caused him to miss the Colts game last week, there is some doubt as to whether Jack Doyle will be suiting up in this one. He has 17 grabs for 163 scoreless yards so far in 2017. Brandon Williams and Darrell Daniels have a combined 8 catches for 95 yards, but like Doyle neither have visited the end zone yet this season. Ten of the 20 receptions the Titans have allowed to tight ends came in a single game against the Seahawks, the same game in which the Titans allowed their only tight end receiving touchdown. In their other four games, they have allowed on average a mere 28 receiving yards to opposing tight ends.
Enjoy the Game!