The Indianapolis Colts are again facing a demanding schedule with AFC South rivals. A glance at history reveals:
- In 2022, five out of their first seven games were against divisional foes, ending with a 1-3-1 record.
- In 2023, four of their initial six games are within the AFC South.
Week 5 sees them take on the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium, marking their third divisional matchup of the season. So far, they’ve experienced a defeat against the Jaguars and a victory over the Texans.
Coach Shane Steichen stresses the significance of divisional games, pointing out that securing the division is a critical step toward a championship.
Sunday’s game carries weight. Not only because the Colts have lost five consecutive games to the Titans since 2020, but they haven’t tasted victory at Lucas Oil Stadium since October 16, 2022.
“The stakes are high. The Titans have had our number lately. We need to start strong and bring this one home for Lucas Oil,” DeForest Buckner commented.
Key Factors for Sunday’s Game:
- Anthony Richardson’s Explosive Plays: In Week 4, Richardson showcased his potential for explosive plays, averaging 8.0 yards per pass attempt. The Titans have had mixed results against quarterbacks this season, which could be a factor in this game.
- Derrick Henry’s Efficiency: Historically, the Titans have a better record when Henry averages at least four yards per carry. With Vrabel at the helm, the Titans are 30-16 when Henry hits that mark and 14-14 when he doesn’t.
- Titans’ Road Game Performance: The Titans have suffered back-to-back road losses. While they hold a five-game winning streak against the Colts, they’ll face a re-energized Colts team with a promising rookie quarterback in Richardson.
- Jonathan Taylor’s Return: While expected to be on a pitch count, there is no question that Taylor brings a homerun element and additional wrinkle to the new-look Colts offense under Shane Steichen and with Anthony Richardson in the backfield. The Titans have a stingy run defense, so expectations should be tempered, but this will be a major storyline.
Betting Angle: An interesting tidbit for bettors – DraftKings Sportsbook has set the Colts as 2.5-point home underdogs. Given Richardson’s improving form and the potential return of Taylor, there’s intrigue in the betting lines.
Prediction: While the Colts have showcased grit and potential, the Titans are more seasoned. Unless the defense can score some points or create turnovers, it’s likely the Titans have the edge. The Colts offense will undoubtedly look strong as the season goes on with Taylor back in the fold, but it’s difficult to expect immediate rewards. I predict the Titans win 24-20.