Indianapolis Colts (2-4) at Tennessee Titans (3-3)
The Titans may be just 3-3, but they actually rank 2nd in the NFL in first down percentage differential. They’ve been competitive in every game and have a -7 point differential on the season, despite being -4 in return touchdown differential. Aside from those 4 plays, they have a +20 point differential and have quietly played very solid football this season. They’ve allowed just 9 touchdowns all season on 63 drives and have 19 more first downs than their opponents. That doesn’t mean the Titans are the 2nd best team in the NFL or anything, but they’re better than their record suggests. Much healthier and more talented than they were in 2015, the Titans run the ball well, have a great offensive line, and play strong defense.
The Colts, meanwhile, have one of the weakest rosters in the NFL outside of the quarterback position. They enter this game 30th in first down percentage differential, only ahead of the Browns and Jets, thanks to a defense that has allowed a league worst 143 first downs. They also enter this game incredible banged up. They’ll be without #2 and #3 wide receiver Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett, starting tight end Dwayne Allen, top offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, and top defensive lineman Henry Anderson. The Titans, meanwhile, are completely healthy. The Colts have the obvious advantage at quarterback, but the Titans have the advantage at every other position. This line is way too low at 3 because this line suggests that these two teams are even and that is not the case.
The Titans are in a bad spot though, as they have to play again in 4 days on Thursday Night Football. Favorites are just 50-77 ATS before Thursday Night Football since 2008. The Colts are coming off of a road overtime loss, which normally is a bad spot, but they’re lucky because they’re in their second of two road games here. Teams are 132-100 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 104-68 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games and 6-2 ATS in their 2nd of 2 road games off of an overtime loss. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 222-236 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.87 points per game, as opposed to 322-448 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.03 points per game. That being said, even though the Colts are in a better spot, I’m still confident enough in Tennessee at 3 to put money on them.
Tennessee Titans 27 Indianapolis Colts 20
Pick against the spread: Tennessee -3