Indianapolis Colts (-3, 45 o/u) at Tennessee Titans
The Indianapolis Colts (0-2, 0-1 Away) are shockingly winless through the first two weeks of the season and have a plenitude of problems on offense, which was supposed to be the strength of the team. But the Colts will travel to Tennessee this week (Sunday at 1:00 PM Eastern) and that could be just what the doctor ordered. Indy has yet to lose to the Titans (1-1, 0-0 Home) since QB Andrew Luck entered the league in 2012. The winner will have at least a share of the lead in the woeful AFC South come Monday.
Luck and the Colts were shutout until halftime in each of the first two weeks and are averaging a league-low 10.5 points per game. They were playing two of the best defenses in the league (Buffalo and the NY Jets), but that doesn’t alleviate the concerns, in particular the apparent weakness of the 0-line.
Luck has already thrown five interceptions already this season, and the majority have been brought about by pass-rush pressure. But Luck is taking full blame for his case of pick-itis.
“The fumble, the interceptions, I have direct control on what happens with the ball,” he said to the Indianapolis Star. “As a quarterback, you do; it’s in your hands. I haven’t made the best decisions and missed some throws. Shoot, you work on it. You go out in practice, and you work on it and see how you can do in the game.”
Tennessee is coming off a 28-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. After a dominant Week 1 performance, in which he threw four touchdown passes during a 41-14 win over Tampa, rookie QB Marcus Mariota regressed against a solid Cleveland D, completing just 57-percent of his throws and fumbling three times (losing two).
On defense, the Titan secondary looked vulnerable, getting torched on two long touchdown passes from Johnny Manziel to Travis Benjamin.
Tennessee would love to put the same type of pressure on Luck that the Bills and Jets were able to generate as that would take pressure off of their corners and potentially force the QB into more turnovers. But the Titans don’t have the same sort of personnel up front. It will be up to DC Ray Horton (and Dick LeBeau, the “associate head coach/defense,” whatever that is) to find creative ways to take advantage of a subpar Indy o-line.
Indy indeed has numerous issues to rectify, and they may not be the Super Bowl contender many thought at the outset of the year. But they will be eager to prove they are still the team to beat in the AFC South and Luck is 6-0, career, against the Titans (including 5-1 ATS). Look for the Colts to start their turnaround with a comfortable win.
Pick: Colts -3.
(Photo credit: Mark Susina (Mark 2400) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mss2400/7967230578/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped from its original.)