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Titans vs. Colts preview: 5 questions with Stampede Blue

A preview of the Colts from Chris Shepherd of Stampede Blue

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Shepherd of Stampede Blue was nice enough to answer five questions about the Indianapolis Colts for us heading into this weekend’s match-up. You can follow Chris on Twitter @NFLscheme.

1. Has Matt Ryan been an upgrade over Carson Wentz? What differences do you see with Ryan instead of Wentz?

So far, on the field, no Matt Ryan really hasn’t been an upgrade. With that said, it sure feels like Matt Ryan is a far more stable player. Wentz’s highs were insanely high. Matt Ryan just can’t make the kind of ridiculous plays that Carson Wentz can make when everything goes right. Matt Ryan has made some mistakes, mostly pressing- trying to force things to happen but the difference between Ryan’s hold-the-ball-too-long-and-get-strip-sacked lows just don’t feel as bad as Wentz’s throwing-a-left-handed-pick-six-on-your-own-goal-line lows. So while the results aren’t there yet, it feels like the floor is much higher at the QB position this season.

2. There was talk of Frank Reich being on the hot seat before the win against the Chiefs. Was that true? What do you think he needs to accomplish this year to be back in 2023?

Jim Irsay doesn’t fire coaches mid-season. The expectation for Reich seems pretty straightforward based on what Irsay has said. He expects his team in the postseason and short of that there will most likely be a new head coach in Indianapolis in 2023. I feel he needs to have at least one highly competitive postseason game. Getting to a wildcard game and getting blown out isn’t going to save his job in my opinion.

3. The Colts are still the favorite at +100 to win the AFC South. Are you taking that bet?

lol no. I’m a terrible gambler and I avoid long term bets like that one, like the plague. I do feel that like in years past this is a good Colts team that has been hurt for the fifth time in five years by trying to get a new QB up to speed in what is a complex and highly structured offense. So while it wouldn’t surprise me if the Colts win it, I’m nowhere near confident enough to actually bet on it.

4. We know about Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman. Who is an offensive player we maybe don’t know that will have an impact on this game?

Right guard Danny Pinter. Taylor and Pittman are guys other teams should be concerned about. Pinter is a guy other teams can’t wait to try to exploit. I am in an incredible minority of Colts fans that thinks Pinter might have a chance to improve before the season is over, but if I’m being honest seeing Chris Jones ragdoll Pinter last Sunday has destroyed most of the hope I had left for him. Frankly, I’m not sure you’ll have to worry about Taylor or Pittman as long as Jeffery Simmons lines up over Pinter.

5. Give me your prediction for how this plays out. Who wins and why?

I haven’t watched enough Titans football this season to give an answer I feel confident about but I’ll give it my best. The Colts lose the coin toss and receive to start the game. Frank Reich decides to come out in a trips look because 1 out of every 4 Colts plays this season have come from a trips right or left and all but two of those plays have been passes. So he switches it up and tries to establish Jonathan Taylor from the gun. Taylor rushes behind Pinter, miraculously Taylor makes the first three defenders miss three yards behind the line of scrimmage and falls forward for a gain of two- the greatest two yard run in Indianapolis Colts history. Reich lets Matt Ryan go no huddle on second down, Jeffery Simmons sacks Ryan for a loss of seven. On third down and 15 they throw a screen to Nyhiem Hines who picks up four yards. For the rest of the first half both offenses struggle and the first team to score 21 wins the game. This one will be decided by turnovers and special teams.

In a game like this, I can’t pick against the Colts. I just can’t do it. But I will tell you I don’t feel good about it. This Colts team hasn’t figured out how to play offense together yet, they’re not even close to figuring out how to finish and win games. If the Colts win it will be because Gus Bradley’s week three performance wasn’t a fluke and he has his defense keyed in and is using his players to do things they’re good at on a consistent basis.

So gun to my head, if you’re making me make a prediction it’s

Colts 21

Titans 19