NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans are coming off a big overtime victory in a place that's very hard for visitors to win.
Playing host to Indianapolis with the Colts dealing with both an injured quarterback and off to an 0-2 start should be the perfect chance today for the Titans to build momentum and grab the early edge toward repeating as AFC South champs.
Except in this rivalry, the road team has won the past five games.
“Anytime that you can get our division rival, whatever you want to call it, get them 0-3, win our first division game, we understand how important it is to win home games at our stadium, but also win division games,' Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “It's going to be really huge for us.”
The Titans already come in needing to make up for being blown out at home in the season opener. They avoided their own 0-2 hole last week by beating Seattle 33-30 in overtime.
The Colts are trying to figure out who's playing quarterback after Carson Wentz sprained not one, but both ankles in last week's 27-24 loss to the Rams. Jacob Eason made his NFL debut last week in relief of Wentz late. Brett Hundley likely will be activated from the practice squad.
“My history with Carson is that he's a pretty fast healer and that he's tough,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “If there's any chance he can play with these ankle sprains then he'll play. Obviously, it's an incredibly big game. We're not holding back anything, so this is a big game. If he can play, he'll play.”
Indianapolis' offensive line was one of the league's top units the last three seasons.
Not this season. Wentz already has been sacked six times and taken 21 hits with Indianapolis running for 3.96 yards per carry. Sure, the Colts have played two traditionally strong defenses. They also haven't played yet with their five projected starters.
Left tackle Eric Fisher returned last weekend from the torn Achilles tendon suffered in the AFC championship game, but right tackle Braden Smith sat out with an injured foot. Center Ryan Kelly (elbow) and All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson (foot) also missed three weeks of training camp with injuries.
They're hoping to turn things around today. Nelson said it was really sad seeing Wentz on the ground in pain, then limping off after spraining his right ankle.
“All the times he's gotten hit, all the times he's gotten up, he hasn't complained once and we've got to do a better job up front,” Nelson said. “If everyone just does their job, we can light it up.”
Going for it
Reich is one of the league's more aggressive play-callers on fourth down. It hasn't paid off yet this season.
Only Chicago has failed to convert more fourth downs than the Colts, who are 0 for 4. Last week, Reich's decision on fourth-and-goal from the Rams 1 backfired when Wentz was sacked for a 9-yard loss.