News

Actions

Colts visit Titans looking to end 0-2 skid

WRTV-Default-Image_1280x720.png
Posted at 12:02 PM, Sep 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-27 12:02:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in a very familiar situation, and will try to claw out of a woeful start the same way they did a year ago.

By hitting the AFC South road.

Just like last season, the Colts (0-2) opened with a loss on the road before losing their home opener. Then they went to Jacksonville and started a five-game winning streak that propelled them to the AFC championship game.

Coming off a 20-7 loss to the Jets in Indianapolis, the Colts visit the Titans on Sunday in Tennessee's home opener hoping history holds as the two-time AFC South champs hit the divisional portion of their schedule.

RELATED | Colts' offensive line looking to stand tall against Titans

Andrew Luck may have a league-high five interceptions, but the quarterback has simply dominated this division. The Titans have never beaten him in six tries the past three seasons, not that Luck is taking that streak for granted.

"Every year so much changes in the NFL, and even between games, so much can change," Luck said. "So it's definitely a year-by-year, game-by-game thing."

MORE | Luck focuses on turning things around 

The Titans (1-1) actually are tied atop the division with Jacksonville in a very surprising turn for a franchise coming off its worst season since 1994 at 2-14. This is the Titans' first chance at Luck with the guy they hope is their franchise quarterback, Marcus Mariota. The rookie already has the most touchdown passes (six) in NFL history in his first two career games, and Mariota leads the NFL with a 129.9 passer rating even after a 28-14 loss at Cleveland last week.

Tennessee linebacker Derrick Morgan said it's awesome to play with a great offense and a great quarterback.

"Marcus gives us an aspect of our team that we didn't have necessarily in the past, and he's doing a great job," Morgan said. "He showed some real courage (last week) just battling through, getting hit, getting sacked and getting back up. (I) have a lot of respect for him."

Here are some things to know about the Colts and Titans:

DIVISION DOMINANCE: Indianapolis has been the AFC South's most dominant team since its creation in 2002. The Colts have won nine of the division titles, including each of the past two. Luck has gone 16-2 against division foes since entering the league in 2012. If Luck wins Sunday, he would tie Peyton Manning for most consecutive wins (14) in intradivision play since realignment, according to STATS. Conversely, the Titans haven't won the division since 2008, and Tennessee is 11-25 in the AFC South since then.

LINE DANCE: Indianapolis' defensive line improved from Week 1 to Week 2. The Colts' offensive line did not. Against two blitz-happy teams, Indianapolis struggled to open running lanes, protect Luck or avoid penalties. All three areas are focal points this week, and if Indy has any chance of winning at Tennessee, the protection must get significantly better. "Until you put the fire out and get things calmed down, you're going to see it over and over and over again," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "I fully expect to see the same type of pressure."

PROTECT THE ROOKIE: The Titans had their own issues after Mariota was sacked seven times by the Browns, and they will be without right guard Chance Warmack, who sprained his right knee. Jamon Meredith will replace Warmack in a starting lineup that also has rookie right tackle Jeremiah Poutasi.

TURNOVER TURNAROUND: After two weeks, Luck leads the league with five interceptions, and with six turnovers overall he has accounted for more by himself than 30 of the NFL's 32 teams. San Diego also has six. No other team had more than five. Luck knows what he must do to snap the second two-game skid of his career: protect the ball. Mariota has yet to be intercepted, but lost two of three fumbles last week.

TIGHT COVERAGE: One of the Colts' biggest frustrations has been getting receivers open. Buffalo and New York both relied primarily on press coverage, and the Colts struggled. T.Y. Hilton managed to find space in Week 1 before he went down with a bruised left knee. And Donte Moncrief had some success against the Jets. Luck wants to use tight ends more frequently, and they could certainly use the work. The Colts' three tight ends have combined for one catch for 5 yards in two games.