When forecasting what would happen to them in the 2022 season, the Indianapolis Colts probably didn’t believe that they would be tied by the Houston Texans in the opening week and shut out by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second game. But that happened, and it happened with a former league MVP at quarterback.
But BetOnline customers saw the Colts pull a big upset at home last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. So interestingly, it looks as if the Colts could conceivably be in first place in the AFC South by the end of business on Sunday. Of course, Jacksonville will have to lose its game against Philadelphia to make that happen. But with a 1-1-1 record, they are actually not in bad shape in perhaps the NFL’s weakest division.
On Sunday, the Colts will take on the Tennessee Titans, who had a little redemption play of their own last week after they were mangled by the Buffalo Bills.
This game will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time, coming to you from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The Colts managed just 259 yards but put forth a pretty good defensive effort in limiting the Chiefs to just three points in the second half of their 20-17 victory. Matt Ryan, who was acquired in the offseason as a steady veteran at the quarterback position, got sacked five times, and that is indeed a concern. But the fact that Indianapolis won the game despite just 71 rushing yards from Jonathan Taylor is pretty encouraging because if he comes out and dominates, this is a big advantage for the home team.
Tennessee is an odd situation. The Titans were actually the top seed in the AFC last year, but they went to the finish line with Derrick Henry out with an injury for most of the second half of the regular season. Henry is back, and he is effective. And quarterback Ryan Tannehill actually found him five times out of the backfield last week in the win over Las Vegas.
In the NFL betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Colts are favored. This might affect the predictions made by the punters of NFL betting sites.
Indianapolis Colts -3 (-112)
Tennessee Titans +3 (-108)
Over 43 points -110
Under 43 points -110
There is something that sticks in the Colts’ craw from last season, as Tennessee swept them over both games, and that’s one of the things you could argue kept them out of the playoffs. Of course, the one thing you can point to directly was a loss at Jacksonville in the regular-season finale, and Indy had an opportunity to avenge that defeat in Week 2 but just went flat, losing 24-0. That kind of thing is tough to explain, except to conclude they were just a weak team. But in reality, we know they’re better than that.
If Ryan is not finished as a competent NFL quarterback, they can probably take control of this division. They will need Taylor to come through big again. He was the NFL rushing champion last season, and he’s averaging just over 95 yards per game in the early going.
It will help Ryan immeasurably if Michael Pittman can stay healthy. Last season he emerged as the team’s top wide receiver and came back from a one-game absence to catch a passes for 72 yards against Kansas City. Head coach Frank Reich likes to go to his tight ends, and we suspect that Taylor will, in the near future, become more involved in the passing game.
Where we see Indianapolis exacting more of an edge is if linebacker Shaquille Leonard, one of the three or four best in the business, comes back from his injuries and can be effective right away. As you probably know, he had back surgery in the offseason and will make his season debut on Sunday.
Slight edge to the Colts here, as they do a better job in stopping the run, although Tennessee has a chance if it can put consistent pressure on Ryan.
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