Titans look to get early division lead in home opener vs. Colts

Tennessee Titans

NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 30: The Tennessee Titans offensive line faces the Indianapolis Colts defensive line during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans (1-0) play their home opener this week against the AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts (0-1) on Sunday.

It will be a special game because, at halftime, the Titans will retire Steve McNair’s No. 9 and running back Eddie George’s No. 27 jersey.  They will become the seventh and eighth players in franchise history to have their numbers retired. Among the 31 other NFL clubs, there is not another No. 9 or No. 27 jersey retired.

This is the Titans first game against an AFC South opponent this season, and with a win, they could start the season 2-0 for the first time in 20 years.

This won’t be an easy task.  Since 2010, the Titans are a combined 3-15 against the Colts.   This will be a different Colts team than the Titans are used to seeing, with quarterback Andrew Luck’s retirement announcement ahead of the 2019 season.  

While the Titans are 2-0 against new starter Jacoby Brissett, he can’t be overlooked.

Brissett started off the season with a good performance against the Los Angeles Chargers.  He finished 21-for-27, throwing for 190 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions.  But it’s the weapons around him that make this well-balanced Colts’ offense tough to stop.

It’s cliché but true, football games are won in the trenches and their offensive line is one of the best in the league.  The boys up front allowed running back Marlon Mack to have the best day, rushing-wise in the NFL last week. He carried the ball 25 times, rushing for 174 yards and a touchdown. 

There is no lack of talent on the outside. T.Y. Hilton continues to be a force for Indy.  

Last week, the veteran wide receiver had eight interceptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns.  And don’t forget, there  is always the option of Brissett going to their dynamic duo of tight ends, Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle.

If there is a defense out there right now that is up for the challenge, it’s certainly Dean Pees’ crew.  The Titans defense had a monster showing against the Cleveland Browns, sacking quarterback Baker Mayfield five times and causing three turnovers.  

The biggest thing the Titans will need to carry over from last weekend is getting to the quarterback.  

Led by veteran linebacker Cameron Wake (2.5 sacks vs. Browns), the two-tone blue put the pressure on Mayfield, now they’ll need to make Brissett uncomfortable and force him to make mistakes as well. 

This could certainly come down to which quarterback manages the game better on Sunday.  

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was solid in his season debut, going 14-for-24, throwing for 248 yards and three touchdowns.  For the first time in a long time, Mariota has a plethora of weapons surrounding him.  

Last week, tight end Delanie Walker showed up big in his return and we can expect to see him getting involved again, especially in the red zone.  Rookie A.J. Brown had a breakout game against the Browns, he’ll try to be the first player in Titans history to go for 100 yards receiving in the first two games of the season.  

Don’t forget about two receivers we didn’t see much of last week.  Corey Davis was targeted just three times and didn’t have a reception and Adam Humphries was almost non-existent.  But there’s nothing to be worried about.  I’d expect Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to have a fresh game plan with these two getting more involved, having options isn’t a bad thing.

If the Titans win at home on Sunday afternoon, they will be in sole possession of first place in the AFC South. It is very early in the season, but getting off to a 2-0 start would be a surprising wake up call for this division.

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