Will Fries / Ryan Kelly vs. Jeffery Simmons
Having Ryan Kelly, who has been having a nice bounceback season, will be of paramount importance for a Colts’ offensive line that missed their leader against Aaron Donald and the Rams. Not only is he an adept blocker, but Kelly’s experience also helps a lot calling the pass protection sets and audibles on the offensive line. Fries is average, which the Colts really needed from their right guard position a year after it was abismal. In front of them will be Jeffery Simmons, who is in my opinion the best interior defensive linemen not named Aaron Donald. Simmons is a nightmare rushing the passer, with a mix of speed and power rarely seen on guys more than 300 pounds. Luckily the Colts now have a fast quarterback that can escape pressure from the inside, but containing Simmons will be the key for the Colts’ offense on Sunday.
Jonathan Taylor / Anthony Richardson vs. Titans’ running defense
The Titans have the best run defense in the NFL thus far, having allowed a measly 2.9 yards per carry and just 280 rushing yards through the first four games. The Colts not only have one of the top running quarterbacks in the NFL right now in rookie Anthony Richardson, but will also be getting All-Pro caliber running back Jonathan Taylor back in the mix. The possibilities for Steichen with both weapons at his disposal are endless, and hopefully he manages to conjure some creative running schemes up to hurt Tennessee.
Gus Bradley vs. Ryan Tannehill
Gus Bradley has been mostly hit or miss against Tannehill, as it is either a slow dismantling of the defense, or a complete shutdown. The Titans’ quarterback is not having a solid season, and when the Titans’ win it is in spite of him not because of him. He has two touchdowns to four interceptions, and is just not looking good at all. It also hurts that the quality of weapons has been steadily declining, former first round pick Treylon Burks has not been on the field much, DeAndre Hopkins looks washed (but of course he will score a touchdown because he just loves playing against us), and the rest of the receiving core is unspectacular.
DeForest Buckner vs. Aaron Brewer
Brewer is the weak link of the Titans’ offensive line, and Buckner is by far the most important player on the Colts’ defensive line. Exploiting that matchup will be the key for containing Henry and thus limiting the Titans’ offense. Buckner was not entirely healthy last game against the Rams and the penetration for the line was just not the same we have been having this season without him in the mix. Buckner was limited in practice on Thursday and should be able to play more snaps come Sunday.
Colts’ offensive line vs. Denico Autry
Speaking of players that love playing against the Colts, ever since leaving us and joining the Titans, defensive end Denico Autry has the two games against us circled on his schedule. It is a given at this point that he is going to get over 1.5 sacks and on gameday we will once again see tweets regarding Ballard’s mistake of letting him go, only this time hopefully it will be after a Colts’ win.