Six Things to Watch

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Six Things to Watch for the Titans in Sunday's Game vs the Colts

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NASHVILLE – The Titans face the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Here's a look at six things to watch in the contest:

King Henry's Return

I probably don't need to remind anyone about what happened the last time the Titans visited Indianapolis, but just in case: The Titans won the game, but the team lost running back Derrick Henry for the rest of the regular season with a broken bone in his right foot. A year later, Henry returns, and he's coming off his best performance of 2022. Henry produced 143 all-purpose yards (85 rush, 58 receiving) against the Raiders and he'll look to build on that against a Colts defense that is usually pretty sturdy vs the run. The Colts are allowing just 77.0 yards per game so far, which is 3rd best in the NFL. The good news is Henry has had success against the Colts in the past – he has 100-plus rushing yards in four of his past five games vs Indianapolis, and he has 441 rushing yards (110.3 per game) and four rushing touchdowns in his past four games at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Stop the Run

A humble Henry said it himself: Colts running back Jonathan Taylor might be the best running back in the NFL. Containing last year's NFL rushing leader is one of the biggest keys to this game for the Titans, who haven't been nearly as good here as they need to be. Through three games, the Titans are allowing 145 yards per game on the ground, which is 29th in the NFL. The total is high, in large part, because of issues stopping Giants running back Saquon Barkley in Week One, of course. Taylor has 286 yards on the season, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. The Titans, who will be without starting ILB Zach Cunningham and safety Amani Hooker, need to tighten things up here, and tackle better.

Pressure Ryan

The Titans pass rush picked up where it left off to start the season, wreaking havoc early in Week 1 with five sacks. But things have been a lot quieter since, and this is the week to pick things up. The Titans need to pressure Colts quarterback Matt Ryan, who has been sacked 12 times in three games this season. Getting Ryan off his spot by harassing him is key for the defense, which has seven sacks in the three games, but just two in the past two games combined. Rashad Weaver leads the Titans with three sacks on the season. The unit should get a boost with the expected return of edge rusher Bud Dupree.

First WR Score?

The Titans have made some plays in the passing game over the first three weeks of the season, as quarterback Ryan Tannehill has completed passes to 11 different targets. Against the Raiders, receiver Robert Woods emerged in his best game yet with the Titans, and he's now just ahead of rookie Treylon Burks in catches and receiving yards. Through three games, however, the Titans are still looking for their first touchdown from a receiver, as running back Dontrell Hilliard (2) and tight end Geoff Swaim (1) have been on the receiving end of Tannehill's scoring tosses. Is this the week a wide out scores?

Special Teams

The Titans and the Colts each have one fewer win this season because of late missed field goals late in Week 1 contests. In the NFL, so many games come down to one play, and sometimes, one kick. The Titans need to be good in the kicking game. The Titans also feel like they're in the verge of breaking a big play in the return game, and this would be a good time to do it. This is a rivalry that has seen some big plays on special teams in recent years, from blocked punts to blocked field goals to big kicks. Will it play a big part in Sunday's contest?

Crowd Noise/Breakdown?

Colts owner Jim Irsay hates the fact his franchise has lost three straight – and four of the last five – to the Titans. He's been outspoken about it, and this week on Twitter he's done his best to rile the Colts fan base up. Among his recent tweets: "BLUE ALERT: Sunday. Colts/Titans. COLTS FANS..WE MUST BE LOUD. 😡😡🏈" And this: "We need EVERY Colts Fan that is at Titan Game on Sunday, to understand that YOU, Yes You!!! Can help us beat Titans on Sunday/ BY BEING LOUD! Like NEVER Before! I mean SO LOUD that YOU help us DICTATE The Game! LOUD LIKE NEVER BEFORE🏈💪🏼! You've been challenged/What U Gonna Do?!🏈" And, also, this: "Pissed off,Intense..Primal… for 3 hours…Not 30 Minutes!! It comes down,Colts Fans…" How bad do YOU want it!!"🏈😡😡🏈👍🏽💪🏼💪🏼😡😡🏈?.. and NEVER GIVE UP!!" It makes me wonder what the crowd will be like on Sunday in Indy. I also wonder how many Titans fans will show up, because a lot of them have made the four-hour trip in recent years.

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