Week 2 is here! Let’s take a quick look at the key match-ups to watch this weekend.
Titans O-Line vs. Colts D-Line
As many of you are probably aware, Tennessee star LT Taylor Lewan is currently suspended. It leaves journeyman Dennis Kelly filling in for Marcus Mariota’s blindside - and a great opportunity for Indy awaits as a result. Looking surprisingly competent rushing the passer a week ago, the Colts registered 4 sacks against a middling Chargers squad, with Justin Houston looking dominant and young players like Kemoko Turay and Ben Banogu flashing. Now Turay is out for this weekend with a neck injury, and Jabaal Sheard continues to be sidelined, which means an expanded role for both Banogu and Al-Quadin Muhammad.
Let’s hope Indy can still take advantage and get after Mariota consistently.
Run game vs. Run Game
The Titans have made it very clear under Mike Vrabel that they want to play smash-mouth, physical football. That starts with running the ball effectively. Coincidentally, Indy has a similar strategy.
Going berserk for 203 rush yards last week, the Offence ran (pun intended) through Marlon Mack, and the team was close to grabbing a win as a result. I’d expect a similar strategy this weekend, letting Quenton Nelson and the O-Line to continue to pave holes and dominate the trenches. Mack and Derrick Henry will act as the bell-cows for their respective units, while Nyheim Hines and Dion Lewis fill the scat-back role.
Ultimately, whichever team wins the rushing battle may just come away with the victory.
Reich vs. Taking Deep Shots
Many fans were upset with Frank Reich’s play-calling last week, even though the team was super competitive in a tough start for new QB Jacoby Brissett. I think it was necessary to make things easier on Brissett to get in a tricky road match-up, but I do understand some of the concerns. A team like Tennessee is highly unlikely to allow as many rushing yards and miss as many tackles as Los Angeles, which means there need to be more air yards to compensate for that difference.
Ideally, Reich will call a couple of deep shots to T.Y. Hilton and Deon Cain to try and break the game open. With the way Tennessee likes to play, I think getting into a shootout actually bodes well for the Colts.