Online sports betting sites are suggesting this is going to be a good one, as the Indianapolis Colts opened as slight 3.0-point favorites over the Tennessee Titans in their Week 17 Sunday Night Football matchup at Nissan Stadium.
These two are playing for the final wild card spot in the AFC. The winner gets in, loser clears out their lockers for the summer.
Kickoff is set for 8:20pm EST on December 30th.
The Colts are averaging an impressive 26.7 PPG (7th). And it’s crazy to think they could be even better if they’d just cut the turnovers. Indianapolis has committed 22 turnovers this season (22nd), which includes one last week against the Giants.
— NFL (@NFL) December 24, 2018
Misguided Andrew Luck passes have been the cause of an intolerable 14 of those giveaways. But it’s hard to put much on the QB who has been incredibly clutch this season.
Minimizing the costly mistakes needs to be the main focus for Luck and the Colts moving forward, though.
— NFL (@NFL) December 23, 2018
Indianapolis’s defense prides themselves on stopping the run. They only spot their opponent 102.2 rushing yards per game (8th), compared to 242.7 through the air (17th).
The Colts’ stinginess against the run has led to them allowing a respectable 21.8 points per game (13th).
Colts vs Titans Statistical Comparison
|26.7 (7th)||PPG||19.5 (26th)|
|382.9 (7th)||YPG||316 (26th)|
|104 (21st)||Rushing YPG||128.7 (5th)|
|278.9 (6th)||Passing YPG||187.3 (29th)|
|21.8 (13th)||PPG Allowed||18 (2nd)|
|344.9 (11th)||YPG Allowed||326.5 (7th)|
|102.2 (8th)||Rushing YPG Allowed||113.7 (14th)|
|242.7 (17th)||Passing YPG Allowed||212.9 (6th)|
|+1 (T14th)||Turnover Differential||0 (T18th)|
Fortunately, Indianapolis’ defense avoids any sort of offensive juggernaut this week, when they line up across from the Titans. Tennessee is scoring just 19.5 PPG (26th).
When you can’t move the ball through the air, scoring points in today’s NFL is pretty tough. This is what Tennessee is facing, as their disgraceful passing attack has resulted in defenses selling out to slow Derrick Henry, inviting Marcus Mariota to beat them with his arm.
Mariota making the defense look silly with that spin ?#TitanUp
— NFL (@NFL) December 22, 2018
Mariota has been able to efficiently complete passes this season, posting a 68.9 completion percentage, but has not been able to push the ball downfield consistently.
And until he demonstrates he can, the Titans can expect to continue seeing extra men at the line of scrimmage. The quarterback has only posted 2,528 yards through the air with an 11:8 TD to INT ratio.
He won’t get that opportunity in Week 17, though, as Blaine Gabbert will be forced into action.
Tennessee needs Gabbert to stretch the field vertically in Week 17, though, as they face a Colts defense that ranks 8th against the run. If he is unable to get anything going through the air, it could be a long day for the Titans offense.
— NFL (@NFL) December 23, 2018
On the other side of the ball, Tennessee’s defense has been next to impossible to score on. They’re giving up just 18.0 points per game, the second-fewest in the league.
The Titans have their sixth-ranked pass defense to thank for their success, as they surrender just 212.9 passing yards per game. The Colts would be smart to try and get Marlon Mack and the ground game going early this week.
The last meeting between these two came on November 18th, 2018, when Indianapolis walked all over the Titans 38-10. The Colts were also 1.0-point favorites in that game.