Titans vs. Colts: A game between two teams going in opposite directions
The Tennessee Titans have only beaten the Indianapolis Colts twice since the beginning of the 2012 season. The prospect of adding a third to that total is looking more promising than ever.
The Tennessee Titans have absolutely struggled against the Indianapolis Colts over the past few seasons. Since 2012, the Colts hold a 13-2 record against the Titans, with their only two losses coming in 2017, the year Andrew Luck missed due to injury.
With a critical Week 13 matchup between the two AFC South squads looming, the Titans have a great opportunity to add a third win to that total, as they take on a battered Colts team that has been reeling since the start of the season.
The Colts defeated the Titans in Week 2 this season, a 19-17 victory that spelled the beginning of the end for then-starting quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Fast forward to Week 13, and both teams have gone in opposite trajectories from which they started.
The Titans started the season 2-4, and headed possibly towards a top-10 draft pick in next years draft. Since then, they have won four of the last five to get back into the playoff hunt. This turnaround can at least be partially credited to switching to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Tannehill has helped galvanize what was a pedestrian Titans offense.
Meanwhile, the Colts started the season 5-2, and early on really looked like a dark horse to make a Super Bowl run. It really seemed like they had quieted down the critics who claimed they could not succeed without Luck at quarterback.
Since then, they have lost three of the last four, including a Week 10 head-scratching loss against the lowly Miami Dolphins. After being a half-game ahead of the Houston Texans in Week 8, the Colts have now fallen into second place ahead of the Titans, only due to a tie-breaker thanks to beating them earlier in the season.
While both teams have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season, the Titans recently got a clean bill of health with the return of Jurrell Casey, Jayon Brown, and Corey Davis this past Sunday.
The Colts, however, have run into a plethora of injuries, which includes three offensive starters.
According to Ian Rappaport, the Colts placed tight end Eric Ebron on injured reserve on Monday due to ankle issues.
Ebron went for 25 yards and a touchdown reception on three catches that included a 13-yard gain where he hurdled Titans safety Amani Hooker.
Colts running back Marlon Mack has already been ruled out with a fractured hand. He initially suffered the injury two weeks ago in the Colts’ victory over the Jaguars, and was inactive in last Thursday’s loss to the Texans.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will also miss this week due to a setback suffered with his calf injury that kept him out for three weeks. He made his return last week in the loss to Houston, but only had 18 yards on three receptions and didn’t look like himself.
The Colts injury woes could not have come at a worse time for them, as a loss this week would hurt them more than it does the Titans as far as the rest of each team’s respective schedules go.
After this game, the Titans face AFC opponents in three of their final four games, including two battles with the division-leading Houston Texans in the final three weeks, which gives them a viable shot at winning the AFC South, let alone earning a wild-card berth.
Meanwhile, three of the Colts’ final four opponents are NFC teams, meaning the Colts won’t be able to improve their conference record until Week 17 when they face the Jaguars.
While the Titans’ playoff prospects have vastly improved after a rough start to the season, the Colts are now starting to spiral, with their once-promising season now looking more dire than ever.
Regardless, this week’s matchup in Indianapolis proves to be just as important for each of these teams. The winner takes one step forward towards the playoffs, while the loser’s playoff hopes dwindle tremendously, meaning that once again, these two teams will more than likely be headed in opposite directions.