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Bold Predictions: Colts vs. Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 1-1-1 Indianapolis Colts will host the 1-2 Tennessee Titans on Sunday and are coming off the best team performance of their 2022 season thus far. The Colts will be looking to improve to 2-1-1 and capture their first divisional victory of the season as well.

For the Colts, Sunday’s matchup against the Titans will be one of two divisional games in a three-week period. If Indianapolis is able to come away with a win over Tennessee, they’ll better position themselves record-wise within the division race going forward.

Here are my three bold predictions ahead of Sunday’s massive AFC South showdown.

  • The Colts’ defense will hold running back Derrick Henry to less than 100 rushing yards

Running back Derrick Henry is coming off his best performance (20 touches, 85 rushing yards, 1 touchdown) and played a crucial role in helping Tennessee earn their first win of the season against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.

Henry looked like his old self for much of that game against Vegas and averaged 4.2 yards per rush. While Henry isn’t easy to slow down, he’ll be going up against one of the league’s top-ranked run defenses, as the Colts are allowing a league-best 2.6 yards per rush so far this season.

Indianapolis’ defense has surrendered just 77 rushing yards per game this season, which ranks third-best in the league behind only the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars. I predict the Colts’ run defense, led by one of the league’s best interior DT duos in Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner, will prevent Henry from taking over Sunday’s game and hold him to less than 100 rushing yards.

  • Jonathan Taylor will rush for over 100 yards and score multiple touchdowns

The Titans’ run defense is amongst the worst in the league through the first three weeks, as they’re allowing 5.8 yards per rush, which ranks dead last in the NFL, and an average of 145 yards per game to opposing backs, which is fourth-worst in the league.

While Jonathan Taylor hasn’t surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark since his 160-yard performance against the Houston Texans in Week 1, I’d bet the Colts will look to get Taylor going right away Sunday. If the offense can get the running game going early, it’ll help create a more balanced offense for quarterback Matt Ryan and Co.

Taylor has shown the ability to take over a game at any given moment through his first few seasons, and I’m predicting he’ll have multiple touchdowns and rush for over 100 yards against Tennessee’s bottom-ranked run defense.

  • The Colts’ defense will force two or more turnovers

Indianapolis’ defense is coming off their best performance of the season, holding quarterback Patrick Mahomes and KC’s explosive offense to just 17 points and just 315 total yards.

Tennessee’s offensive line has done well in pass protection through the first three weeks, so the Colts’ defensive front will look to apply more pressure on quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who’s only been sacked four times this season. Just as they did last week against Patrick Mahomes, forcing Tannehill off his spot will be critical to the defense’s success.

All-Pro linebacker Shaq Leonard could potentially make his season debut Sunday as well. Leonard accounted for more than a third of the defense’s turnovers in 2021, and having him back in the starting lineup would provide a significant boost for Indianapolis’ defense.

I’m predicting Indy’s defense will build off their Week 3 performance and force two or more turnovers against Tannehill and Co. Sunday.