The Titans will meet the Colts in Week 3 for their first AFC South contest of the year. Mike Vrabel and Co. will look to keep the good times rolling after their incredible and unlikely comeback win in Seattle. It’s rare you can put your foot on the gas this early, but a win would send the Titans to 2-1 and the Colts to 0-3. That would be a great start for Tennessee as they try to defend their division crown.
Carson Wentz will start this game at quarterback for the Colts, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. It’s a bit of an unexpected turn, after Wentz didn’t practice Tuesday and Wednesday with two sprained ankles. Wentz returned to practice on Friday and appears ready to go. He’ll certainly be hobbled, and the Titans should aim to make him uncomfortable early and often.
There are several intriguing one-vs-one matchups that will take place when these two teams take the field. Here are three heavyweight battles we’re particularly excited to monitor.
JEFFERY SIMMONS VS. QUENTON NELSON
Could we start with anything else? This is the heavyweight bout. These two players have gone head-to-head on several occasions already and each meeting has been must-watch TV. We expect more of the same from both parties on Sunday.
Simmons played a terrific game against the Seahawks on Sunday. Simmons shared a sack with fellow Mississippi State alum Denico Autry, and deserved an assist on Autry’s other sack as well. We would love to see Simmons carry that momentum over with him into this contest.
It will obviously be a huge challenge, as Nelson is the best interior offensive lineman in the league. The Colts’ O-line isn’t off to a particularly hot start in 2021, but Nelson will bring his A-game on Sunday. As always, this battle will NOT disappoint.
KRISTIAN FULTON VS. MICHAEL PITTMAN JR.
This is low-key the matchup I’m most excited to monitor on Sunday. It’s early, but Fulton and Pittman are both really coming into their own as sophomore players in 2021. A pair of second-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, Fulton and Pittman should see plenty of one another on Sunday.
Fulton has been the best story of the Titans’ defense through the first two weeks. His performance against Seahawks star receiver D.K. Metcalf in Week 2 was incredibly encouraging. Fulton shadowed Metcalf on five of his targets. Metcalf caught just one of those balls for an eight yard gain, per Pro Football Focus. Metcalf was also tagged with committing two penalties. Simply put, Fulton put the clamps on Metcalf last weekend, and it led to some frustration. It came just one week after Fulton got the better of A.J. Green in Week 1. Fulton will look to do the same to Pittman on Sunday.
Pittman played a great game in Week 2 as well. The former USC standout caught eight of a career-high 12 targets for an impressive 123 receiving yards. Pittman will look to build on that performance in a game where he needs to be the best version of himself if the Colts hope to pull off an upset.
I am pumped up for this one.
BUD DUPREE VS. ERIC FISHER
Don’t look now, but the Titans’ $80 million pass rusher has the looks of someone that’s starting to get his legs under him. Box score scouting won’t tell you that Dupree played a pretty decent game against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Week 2, but he did. Wilson represents a huge challenge as the best off-script creator in all of football, and Dupree played with excellent containment and discipline. He appeared to have more juice as a pass rusher than he did in Week 1 as well. The Colts have had some serious issues at left tackle this season. This could be Dupree’s breakout performance.
Fisher made his Colts debut last week to mixed results. Just eight months removed from a horrific Achilles tear injury, the Colts decided to ease Fisher into the fold. He got the start at left tackle, but rotated in and out of the lineup. Julie’n Davenport, who started at right tackle, moved to left tackle when Fisher caught a breather, and Matt Pryor would come off the bench to take up Davenport’s vacant spot at right tackle. It’s rare to see this happen with a starting offensive lineman, but that’s how the Colts approached it.
It’s unclear if we’re in for more of the same on Sunday, but either way, Dupree should get a chance to make his mark.