Yeah, I know. You think the Titans are the best team in the league, because your dumb brain can only remember two weeks at a time. They're coming off of wins over the Bills (34-31) and the Chiefs (27-3 slaughter). Per Football Outsiders, they have three games with a negative DVOA (hint: that's bad).
- Week 1 they were murdered by the Cardinals, losing 38-13
- Week 2 they beat the Seahawks in overtime (33-30), but were the worse team. Seattle outgained the Titans 7.6 to 6.4 yards per play.
- Week 4 they lost the Jets in OT. Yes, I know they were without Julio Jones and AJ Brown. Did you read the part where I said they lost to the Jets?
3 of 7 games with a negative DVOA suggests they aren't as good as they've been the last two weeks. If you think they're hot streak is going to continue, please read up. Indy is the better team per DAVE, and is just slightly worse per FPI (1.5 to 1.4). The line has since shifted to 2.5, I'd still gladly take it at that number. With the line at 1, the model gave a strength of 2.95, which is good for a 1 unit bet.
Ryan Tannehill is 7th best in the NFL per PFF passing grades (85.7). He's completing 65.1% of his passes (0.1% below expectation) and gaining 7.6 yards per attempt. His TD:INT ratio of 7:5 is misleading, judging by his 11:5 big time throw:turnover worthy play ratio. Not much stands out from Tannehill in terms of scheme or tendencies, he's just a solid all around quarterback. The Titans top projected receivers: AJ Brown, Josh Reynolds, Anthony Firkser, and Marcus Johnson. Absent is Julio Jones, who has officially been ruled out with a hamstring injury. That leaves the Titans with AJ Brown as their only capable receiver. Derrick Henry, of course, is going to get almost all of the running back carries. Henry gets the rock at an absurd rate -- his 191 rushing attempts is 68 attempts higher than the next back (Joe Mixon). Henry gains MVP discussion because when you touch the ball that much, your volume stats are going to be absurd. However, among all running backs, he's 16th in the league in PFF running grades, 6th in yards after contact/touch, and 16th in yards per attempt. Like most teams, the Titans have a negative EPA/play when running the football, and probably hurt themselves by giving the ball to Henry as much as they do. The offensive line has been very good this season and without a weakness after LT Taylor Lewan cleared concussion protocol. Overall, the offense is 13th in DVOA and 9th in EPA/play. On defense, the Titans have a solid pass rushing trio between Harold Landry (40 pressures, second most in the league), Denico Autry (30), and DT Jeffery Simmons (27). They spent a butt load of money on Bud Dupree, but he's been downright awful as a pass rusher. Their linebacking core is dreadful, and even though their front 7 can get to the quarterback, they can't stop the run (25th in DVOA). At corner, they've deal with a series of injuries, including first round rookie Caleb Farley (IR, ACL) and 2020 2nd rounder Kristian Fulton (IR, hamstring). Jackrabbit Jenkis, Chris Jackson, and Elijah Molden are the projected starters -- none of whom have had a good season. Kevin Byard is at least healthy at safety and has arguably been the best in the league. The Titans defense is 22nd in DVOA and 21st in EPA/play.
Carson Wentz is 19th this season in PFF passing grades (74.3) while completing 64.4% of his passes (1% above expectation) and gaining 7.7 yards per attempt. He's done an excellent job keeping the ball out of harm's way, his 1.5% turnover worthy play percentage is 4th best. Wentz has had issues holding onto the ball too long -- his average of 2.79 seconds to throw is on the slower end. He's been under pressure 39.4% of the time, 6th highest in the league, and has the 19th best PFF passing grade when under pressure. The good news is TY Hilton looks set to make his second start of the season, and RT Braden Smith should be back for the first time since week 1 (foot/thumb). Smith is consistently one of the better tackles in football, and since the Colts offensive line has been one of the worst from both a pass and run blocking perspective, his return is a massive boost. With TY Hilton out, Michael Pittman has stepped into the #1 wide receiver role nicely - Wentz has a 123.4 rating when targeting Pittman. Behind Pittman and Hilton in projected targets is Zach Pascall and RB Nyheim Hines. On the ground, Jonathan Taylor will get the bulk of the carries, his 4.02 yards per carry after contact is 3rd highest in the league. Indy's offense is 17th in DVOA and 11th in EPA/play. The defense is solid up front, with DeForest Bucker leading the way with 22 pressures, followed by Tyquan Lewis (17) and Al-Quadin Muhammad (14). Rookie DE Kwity Paye is also grading well since returning from a hamstring injury week 6. LB Darius Leonard signed a monster contract in the off-season, and thus far has shown to be deserving of it with 20 stops in the run game. The secondary is the problem for the Colts, which is partially due to injuries, but also Xavier Rhodes and his 59.7 coverage grade. It shouldn't be a surprise that the Colts have been much better against the run (1st in DVOA) then the pass (22nd) -- overall they're 12th in DVOA and 9th in EPA/play.