Tennessee Titans (4-5) at Indianapolis Colts (6-3)
Both of these teams lost as huge home favorites last week, the Colts lost 38-8 at home to the Rams and the Titans losing 29-27 to the Jaguars. It’s very likely both teams were caught looking forward to this huge divisional game and that last week’s performance was just a fluke for both teams. Both teams won the first down battle despite the loss and they lost for fluky reasons. The Titans fumbled 3 times and lost the turnover battle by 2, as a result.
Meanwhile, there are definitely some fluky aspects to the Colts’ loss to the Rams. The Rams led just one methodical touchdown drive, scoring on two return touchdowns, and two long passing touchdowns. That forced the Colts to give up their game plan and put them out of their comfort zone. Since 1989, 5 teams have won a game by 25 or more despite losing the first down battle by 9 or more. 2 of them are the 2013 Rams. I think we can give both of these teams a pass for what happened last week and essentially just approach this game is if neither of those games ever happened.
Yes, the Titans lost Jake Locker for the season last week, but he wasn’t the reason they were in the hunt. That would be their solid defense, led by Jurrell Casey, Alterraun Verner, Derrick Morgan, and others, which is allowing opponents to move the chains at a 71% rate. There’s a reason they were competitive with both Kansas City and Seattle even without Jake Locker. Fitzpatrick will have the whole week to prepare for this week and he’s one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Besides, it’s very possible the Colts recent struggles (including a near loss in Houston) are related to the loss of Reggie Wayne, who they lost against Denver before the bye. They haven’t been the same without him.
I’m not saying the Titans are definitely going to win this game, but the public seems to be giving the Colts a pass for last week, but not the Titans, even though they were in the same situation. The public is all over the Colts -3 because “how can the Colts not beat the Titans by 3 or more?” I love fading heavy public favorites when an opportunity presents itself and I also love getting a field goal or more with a home team unless that team is completely terrible. Remember, the Colts were 10 point favorites over the Rams last week. This line suggests the Colts would be 9 point favorites over the Titans. Considering the Titans covered as 3 point favorites in St. Louis 2 weeks ago, that makes no sense. I’m not confident or anything, but the Titans should be the right side.
Tennessee Titans 24 Indianapolis Colts 23 Upset Pick +135
Pick against spread: Indianapolis +3