The Titans have a tough intra-division match-up, their first of the year in fact, on the docket this week, against unarguably the AFC South's more dangerous team; the Indianapolis Colts. The Titans actually match up with the Colts pretty well on paper, but what are some points of emphasis we can discern when looking at this game ahead of time, in which the Titans have the definitive edge?
1. Titans are coming off tough losses, Colts off of a blowout
The Tennessee Titans have a lot to prove heading into week 4. They play their first divisional match-up at a time when the team really needs to get the momentum going and grab a win. The Colts, on the other hand, are feeling good after earning their first win of the season by bullying the Jacksonville Jaguars into submission. The Titans have more to prove in this one, and I expect them to be the team more fired up, even playing at Lucas Oil Stadium. Motivating the team is something I know with confidence that this new coaching staff can do better than their predecessors.
2. The Colts have ZERO pass rush.
The Indianapolis Colts have had little in the ways of a pass rush, and that was only amplified when they heard that the NFL's reigning sack leader, Robert Mathis, would not be returning in 2014 after all. Now, they did register four sacks against the Jaguars last week, but that has been an anomaly when compared to their other efforts against better offensive lines. I expect the Titans to have the noticeable edge in pass pro. Eric Walden won't be able to head-but his way out of that one.
3. Indianapolis has struggled to run the ball
Again, barring last week's gimme, the Colts have struggled to provide Andrew Luck with a viable running game. Ahmad Bradshaw is clearly the more dangerous weapon than Trent Richardson at this point, but their rushing attack isn't exactly a feared unit. The Titans bigger task will be watching Bradshaw as a pass catcher out of the backfield, where he has had a lot of success so far this season. While the Titans should be able to stem the Colts running game, they face an offensive line that is ranked No. 1 in pass protection through three weeks per PFF.
4. Kendall Wright vs Greg Toler
While Toler has made some eye popping plays, he has been arguably even more inconsistent than the Titans corners thus far this year. He's a player that makes 5 or 6 poor plays for every good one, and ranks as the team's worst defender through three weeks per PFF. He also has a streak of Tommie Campbell-esque penalties to his name that further complicates the Colts secondary. If Kendall Wright is going to put on a show against anyone, it just might be Greg Toler.
5. The Titans have the superior return men...
...Okay well I had to come up with five. But I'm not wrong. The Tennessee Titans have a lot of talent on their return units. They haven't showed that (at all) thus far, but I'm not ready to write them off just yet. The season's still young, and it looks noticeably better than heading into a game vs the Colts with Devon Wylie as the starting kick returner...Dark days.