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:
Titans running back Derrick Henry turned in his best game of the season this past Sunday against the Bengals, and he'll aim to keep it going on Sunday in Indy. Henry has been good against the Colts in the past – he has seven career 100-plus rushing yard games against Indianapolis, the most by any player vs any opponent since Henry entered the NFL in 2016. Henry has 100-plus rushing yards in six of his last seven games against the Colts, and he has 100-plus rushing yards in 13 of his past 14 games against AFC South opponents. The Colts are ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (126.8).
Stay Hot on Offense?
The Titans had a season-high 400 yards (227 pass, 173 rush) last week, and they were a season-high 61.5 percent on third down (27.0% in Weeks 1-3). Can they keep it going against Indianapolis? Well, plenty hinges on the play of Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill – he has a 77.6 completion percentage and a 113.1 rating in the team's two wins compared to 49.2% and 43.2 in the two losses. Tannehill is 5-0 in his past five starts vs the Colts, with a 102.1 rating. The Colts defense has allowed 390.5 yards per game so far, including 263.8 yards vs the pass. They've allowed 195.8 receiving yards per game to opposing WRs, including three 100-yard outputs. Could this be a breakout game for DeAndre Hopkins in Tennessee?
After a tough day in Cleveland, the Titans offensive line settled down and turned in a solid effort against the Bengals. Now, some shuffling is on the horizon after tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere and guard Peter Skoronski returned to practice this week after long absences. Petit-Frere has been ruled out for Sunday, so he won't be a part of the mix this week. But Titans Coach Mike Vrabel indicated Skoronski is on track to return after practicing in full all week. Across the board the unit needs to be solid against a Colts defense that's already recorded 14 sacks in four games.
Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson is a talented young man. This week, Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen mentioned quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen when discussing Richardson, and his all-around abilities. In three games (he missed one game with a concussion), Richardson has seven total touchdowns (3 pass, 4 rush) with just one interception. The only players with more total TDs than Richardson in his first three career games over the last 30 seasons are Patrick Mahomes (10) and Marcus Mariota (8). Richardson is the first QB with 4-plus rushing TDs in his first three games since 1970. The Titans need to tackle well while doing their best to confuse the rookie. The team better be prepared to stop the run as well, because the Colts have a formidable rushing attack.
The reliable Nick Folk will bring his streak of 18 consecutive made field goals into the contest. Punter Ryan Stonehouse, meanwhile, enters the contest with a whopping 51.8-yard average. Will the Titans bring a new returner into the contest? Well, it's beginning to look like it after receiver/return man Kyle Philips was activated off of Injured Reserve on Saturday. The Titans could use a big play on special teams on Sunday, but they also need to be on high alert not to give one up – the Colts are ranked 7th in the NFL in punt return average.
Importance of Week 5
For the first time this season, the Titans enter the game as favorites. The line moved during the week – the Titans went from being 1.5-point underdogs to 2.5-point favorites. Can the Titans win two games in a row for the first time this season against the 2-2 Colts? The Titans have beaten the Colts five straight times, including sweeps in 2021 and 2022. Since 1990, teams that started a season 3-2 have made the playoffs 49.5% of the time, won the division 25.1% of the time and won the Super Bowl 3.6% of the time. The percentages for teams that started 2-3: 22.6%, 9.1% and 0.4%.