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Preview: Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans

Will the Colts fall to 0-3 for the first time in a decade?

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Christine Tannous/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

It’s time for the Indianapolis Colts’ biggest game of the season, one which could control their destiny already. If the Colts fall into an 0-3 hole, especially against their divisional rival, it will be tough sledding the rest of the way.

Tennessee has a lot of offensive firepower, plus the Colts are coming into this game nowhere close to 100% health-wise. Can the Colts counteract the opposite momentum waves into a surprising win in Nashville? If Indy wants to avoid a worst-case scenario 0-3 hole, it has to be done.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s game preview:

Titans

If there’s one area where the Colts can take full advantage against Tennessee, it’s their defense. Arguably worse than they were last year, which is saying something, the Titans have allowed 30-plus points in each of their games so far. If Indianapolis wants to escape Nashville with a victory, the trenches need to dominate on both sides of the football.

Tennessee’s offense featuring Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones is one of the most talented playmaking trios in the NFL. Henry has bulldozed through the Colts in the past, and I would expect the Titans to try to establish him early and often in this one. Once the defense is committed to Henry, then Tennessee will try deep shots to Brown and Jones continuously.

Ryan Tannehill isn’t an elite quarterback, but he will beat the defense if you make it easy on him. It’s going to be huge for the Colts’ defense to get pressure on Tannehill. If not, it’s going to be a very long day once again for Indianapolis.

Colts

This is a game where the Colts’ identity needs to take full shape. Built to win on both sides of the line of scrimmage, the offensive and defensive lines will need to control everything for Indianapolis. Whether it be establishing the run behind Jonathan Taylor or generating pass rush, GM Chris Ballard’s vision of trench excellence must show up.

Speaking of Taylor, who has yet to find a consistent ground attack due to a porous offensive line, he needs a huge day for Indianapolis. I would say a game with at least 100 yards is in order for the Colts to win this pivotal divisional matchup.

Carson Wentz will be playing, somehow, with two sprained ankles. We’ll see if Wentz can finish the entire game, but major kudos to Indy’s QB1 for even suiting up today. Wentz will be immobile in the pocket, so I would expect head coach Frank Reich to dial up plays similarly to Philip Rivers behind center last season.

How will Wentz look under these circumstances, though? That’s the million dollar question, and one that needs to have a great answer.

Prediction

This feels like the worst time for the Colts to go against a Titans team coming off a massive win in Seattle. Especially when adding in Wentz’s expected limited mobility, Tennessee is going to stack the box on almost every play against the Colts’ offense.

When you add in the firepower between Henry, Brown and Jones, I have a hard time seeing the Colts keeping Tennessee under 20 points. In a game where Indianapolis will try to slow down the tempo, Tennessee will be trying to do the opposite.

I hope I’m wrong here, but I’m predicting Indianapolis falls to 0-3 for the first time since 2011.

Titans 24, Colts 13