Colts, Titans set for rematch with huge division implications

Colts, Titans set for rematch with huge division implications

Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich said the road to the AFC South title goes through the Tennessee Titans.

It’s been a rough stretch of pavement for Indianapolis the last couple of years, but it’s one it’s going to have to negotiate successfully on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., if the Colts are going to win the division.

Tennessee (3-2), which has won each of the last two division crowns, already owns a 24-17 win on Oct. 2 in Indianapolis. A repeat result in the rematch would not only drop the Colts (3-2-1) back to .500, but would essentially increase their deficit an extra game because it would give the Titans a sweep of the season series and a tiebreaker advantage come playoff time.

So there is urgency for Indianapolis, which enters off of consecutive wins. It outscored Jacksonville 34-27 at home last week in what was by far their most productive offensive showing of the year.

Matt Ryan looked his old self. He completed a career-high 42 passes in 58 attempts for 389 yards and three touchdowns, including a 32-yard, game-winner to rookie Alec Pierce with 17 seconds left.

More importantly, Ryan played turnover-free for the first time this year and wasn’t sacked. He passed Dan Marino on the all-time yardage list with 61,500 in a 15-year career.

“He was the ultimate guy when I was growing up; He’d sling it,” Ryan said of Marino. “I remember the first time I met him he said, ‘Hey, no matter what happens man, keep slinging it.’ I was like 23 at the time, I was like, ‘That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard.’

“And here I am 37 and still remember him saying that to me. Any time you’re mentioned in the same breath as Dan, it’s pretty cool.”

Ryan may get some additional help against the Titans. Running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle), who missed the team’s last two games, was a limited participant in practice Wednesday. Overall, trends suggest Taylor is on the right track to play.

Meanwhile, Tennessee hasn’t played since pulling out a 21-17 win Oct. 9 at Washington, after David Long’s diving interception of Carson Wentz at the 1-yard line with 6 seconds left. It was the Titans’ third straight win.

The early bye week might be beneficial for Tennessee, which could possibly get outside linebacker Bud Dupree (hip), safety Amani Hooker (concussion) and right guard Nate Davis (foot) back.

“We have had a couple of days off,” said Titans coach Mike Vrabel. “Hopefully, the guys feel better and healthier. We are ready to work and get something done.”

As always, one of the game’s storylines will be what Tennessee running back Derrick Henry does with a Colts defense that will be stacked to stop him. In the first meeting, Henry rumbled for 114 yards on 22 carries and a first-half touchdown.

The Titans led that game 24-10 at halftime but failed to score in the second half, a problem they’ve yet to solve this year. They’ve managed 14 points after halftime through five games and none in the fourth quarter.

Indianapolis owns a 35-20 lead in the all-time series, although Tennessee has won the last four matchups.


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The Home Depot Fantasy of Prizes!

The Home Depot Fantasy of Prizes!

UPDATE: The Grand Prize winner for The Home Depot Fantasy of Prizes is Dale Dillman! Dale won the Husky 12 Volt Inflator, the Festive Nutcracker LED Pre-lit Wreath, The Grinch Air Blown Inflatable, and the Nexgrill 30Q Turkey Fryer Package!

Congratulations Dale and thanks to all of those who were qualified, and don’t forget to check out East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Fantasy of Trees “Christmas in the Pines” this year at the Knoxville Convention Center from Nov. 23rd through 27th!