Indianapolis will shore up some things defensively, and its diverse receiving corps can cause problems, especially with Jacoby Brissett being well protected. Derrick Henry will do some more big running, but Marcus Mariota will have less success than Brissett will in trying to push the ball downfield.
The Titans were phenomenal defensively against Cleveland, but Indianapolis is solid, with or without Andrew Luck.
I don’t think the Titans are as good as they showed last week, and the Colts proved — as long as Adam Vinatieri gets himself figured out — that they can still hang with AFC contenders even without Andrew Luck. They’ll also protect the QB better than Cleveland did last week vs. Tennessee.
The Colts have won 13 of their last 15 matchups with Tennessee, going 12-3 against the spread. The Titans beat the Browns by picking off Baker Mayfield three times last week. Jacoby Brissett has a historically low interception rate.
Are the Titans (1-0) as good as their 30-point win over the Browns indicates? Probably not, but Tennessee has a real defense and can pound the ball. The Colts (0-1) lost in overtime against the Chargers in Week 1, but would have won if Adam Vinatieri didn’t miss three kicks. Should come down to which limited quarterbacks makes the most plays.
The Titans sure benefited from the Browns being undisciplined (18 penalties for 182 yards) in Week 1. They won’t have that luxury in Week 2 against the Colts, who committed just three penalties for 10 yards in their season-opening loss to the Chargers.
Jacoby Brissett struggled in 2017 because of inexperience and a weak offensive line in front of him. He’s now two years older, and we saw what he can do when he gets protection. He completed 78 percent of his passes, threw two touchdowns and no picks against a really good Chargers team. Tennessee looked great in Week 1, but Marcus Mariota struggled with accuracy and got great field position thanks to three turnovers forced by his defense in the fourth quarter.
I thought the Colts battled hard against the Chargers. The Titans obviously looked very good too, in blowing out the Browns. I need to see the Titans do it again, and will cautiously take the underdog Colts to cover.
Tennessee showed it will be force in the AFC this season by whipping the highly touted, but not-ready-for-the-spotlight Browns on the road. The Titans take their cue from coach Mike Vrabel, who has instituted toughness and discipline. The Colts showed some grit of their own in taking the Chargers to overtime but wilted in the extra session. This is an early marker for the best of the AFC South.
LOCK (1.5 UNITS)
The Titans pulled off an upset last week beating the Browns on the road. The defense was impressive. The Colts are playing consecutive road games, which is tough.
I can’t co-sign the market’s skepticism of the Titans. I priced Tennessee as the AFC South favorite ever since the surprise retirement of Andrew Luck, yet this line implies the Titans are equal — or even still a little behind — the Colts.
It probably doesn’t make a lot of difference now, but the Titans would like a small measure of revenge for losing to the Colts in last year’s season finale with the second wild-card playoff spot up for grabs. The Colts are good, just not good enough without Andrew Luck.
The Colts’ defense is probably a little better than it showed in a loss to the Chargers, and the Titans’ 43 points owed a great deal of favors to Baker Mayfield’s mistakes. But even once you adjust for some regression to the mean, Tennessee is a solid home favorite.