As of this writing, Draftkings Sportsbook has the Colts at 3.5 point home favorites in their first home divisional game against the rival Tennessee Titans.
Both teams are coming off much-needed wins, and neither can afford to lose. A Colts win, and a Jacksonville loss in Philadelphia would give the Colts the lead in the AFC South. A Colts loss would give them a losing record, keep them winless in the AFC South after three games, and could put them in a two-way tie with the Houston Texans at the bottom of the division.
A Titans loss would leave them 1-3 after four games, give them a loss in their only division game, and put them at the bottom of the division alone if the Texans can beat a battered Chargers team in Houston. Alternatively, a win would bring the Titans up to 2-2 and could put them in a tie for the division lead if the Jaguars lose in Philadelphia.
Arguably, this game matters more to the Colts. No wins in three division games is a far worse situation than if the Titans drop their first division game, total record notwithstanding.
What the game likely comes down to is rushing and defense. The Titans have key injuries on their offensive and defensive lines. Their pass rush could be a shadow of what it would normally be if their stars were all playing. Their offensive line without Taylor Lewan isn’t the same. If the Colts can exploit the offensive line, especially at left tackle, and get pressure on Ryan Tannehill (as they did a week ago on Patrick Mahomes), things will turn in their favor. If they can continue limiting opposing rushers, and can keep Derrick Henry from extending Titans’ offensive drives, all the better.
On the other side of the ball, if the offensive line can continue figuring things out and give Matt Ryan time, things could start clicking in the passing game. More importantly, Jonathan Taylor has yet to go off, and the line and eight-man boxes are a big reason. If he can get things moving, set up play-action passing, and provide balance, the Colts have a real opportunity.
Both teams have put their backs against a wall to start the season. This game matters a lot, and the winner will benefit considerably.