Week 2 of the NFL schedule brings us a critical game in the AFC South between the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST on Sunday, September 5 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Fans in Indianapolis and Nashville and everywhere in between will be able to watch the game on CBS.
The Week 2 NFL odds list the Titans as 3-point favorites at home. The game also has an over/under of 45 points.
The Colts aren’t feeling sorry for themselves after Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement right before the season. They also have no intention of throwing in the towel on the season. Indy forged an impressive comeback last week against the Chargers. Unfortunately, after coming back to tie the game, the Colts lost in overtime.
Naturally, Indy’s back is up against the wall, as they hope to avoid a 0-2 start to the season. The silver lining is that the Colts will play four of their next five games at home after this week’s trip to Nashville. But that homestand will feel a lot better at 1-1 than it will at 0-2, making this an important game if the Colts want to compete in the AFC South this year.
Moreover, a loss for the Colts this week would also mean the Titans jumping ahead in the AFC South with a 2-0 record. Tennessee had one of the more impressive outings in Week 1, dominating the Browns on the road in a 43-13 win. The Titans only led 15-13 late in the third quarter but exploded for 28 points in the final 16 minutes, including a pick-six that put the game on ice.
The challenge for the Titans is to prove that last week wasn’t a fluke. There were plenty of skeptics heading into the season for Marcus Mariota and company. But a 2-0 start would surely start to change the narrative. Plus, after Sunday’s home opener, the Titans will play three of their next four games on the road, making it important for them to start the year 2-0.
Of course, these two teams have had plenty of battles in recent years as members of the AFC South. For years, the Colts dominated this series, winning 16 of 17 head-to-head meetings at one point. After the Titans swept the season series in 2017 while Indy was without Luck, the Colts returned the favor with two lopsided wins over Tennessee last season. Needless to say, the Titans are sick of losing to the Colts while Indianapolis has to prove that they can beat Tennessee without Luck’s services.
There’s a strong argument for both teams in this game. Part of me feels like last week’s performance by the Titans was an aberration, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for one week. The Titans are at home and don’t have to worry about Luck, so I think they’ll win and cover.
The Tennessee defense is the biggest reason why last week’s performance could be a sign of things to come. The Titans have always had a lot of talent on that side of the ball, and they proved that against the Browns, forcing Baker Mayfield to throw three interceptions and sacking him five times. For what it’s worth, they could have been a little better at slowing down the running game, but it was still an impressive performance.
To be fair, the Indy offense was fine with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. He’s surely made strides since he was the starter during the 2017 season. However, the Colts have lost Devin Funchess to IR and didn’t get much out of their tight ends last week. That leaves T.Y. Hilton as the only serious threat in the passing game. To me, that spells trouble against the Tennessee defense. I also think the Colts benefited from facing a terrible Los Angeles run defense last week. They won’t run for over 200 yards against the Titans, and that will make things a little harder on Brissett.
On the other side of the ball, the biggest X-factor in this game is the Tennessee offense. Running back Derrick Henry was the star in Week 1, helping to hide some of the issues the Titans have on that side of the ball. For starters, Corey Davis was a non-factor, registering zero catches on three targets. Outside of three catches by rookie A.J. Brown, the Titans didn’t pose any threat on the outside. In fact, it was Henry who was responsible for their best pass play of the game. Even against an Indy defense that yielded over 300 passing yards against Philip Rivers last week, I don’t see the Tennessee offense being that explosive.
However, the Titans are at home, and they proved last week that they can run the ball effectively and play great defense. That combination is going to make them tough to beat. The Colts won’t make it easy, but I think the Titans have enough to win and cover.