Colts Overtake Titans as Favorites to Win the AFC South After Beating Tennessee on Thursday Night


Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts have now won 14 of their last 17 meetings versus the Tennessee Titans. Photo by @Colts (Twitter).

  • The Indianapolis Colts are now favored to win the AFC South
  • Indy won convincingly on the road in Tennessee in Week 10, improving to 6-3
  • Who’s the best bet to win the division?

Entering Week 10, the Indianapolis Colts were ranked six spots higher than the Tennessee Titans by DVOA, and after the shellacking they just handed Tennessee, the gap is about to get a lot wider.

Indy blew out the Titans by 17 points in Tennessee on Thursday Night Football, improving to 6-3 and overtaking them as the favorite to win the AFC South.

AFC South Odds

Team Odds to Win
Indianapolis Colts -117
Tennessee Titans -105
Houston Texans +5000
Jacksonville Jaguars +50000

Odds taken Nov. 12th at BetMGM.

The Colts NFL Divisional odds improved from +155 to -117, while the Titans were lengthened from -190 to -105. Neither the Houston Texans or Jacksonville Jaguars are threats to challenge for the division title, making the AFC South a two-horse race down the stretch.

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Colts Crush Titans in Primtime

For the first two quarters of Thursday Night Football, it looked like the game would come down to the wire. That all changed in the second half however, as back-to-back special teams blunders by Tennessee opened up the floodgates.

In the blink of an eye, Colts went from trailing by four to leading by 10. From that point on the Titans didn’t record another point, missing a 44-yard field goal and turning the ball over on downs before time ran out.

Indianapolis outgained Tennessee by 136 yards, while averaging 1.3 yards more per play. Phillip Rivers had his most efficient game as a passer since Week 3, completing 74.4% of his passes, while five different Colts combined to rush for 133 yards, led by Nyheim Hines.

The 23-year-old now has three separate games this season with two touchdowns, and ranks fourth on the team in receiving yards.

On the other side of the ball, the NFL’s third best scoring defense held Tennessee scoreless in the second half, and limited Ryan Tannehill to his lowest output of the season. The 32-year-old completed just 55.6% of his attempts for a season-low 147 yards.

It was the second outing in a row that he’s completed less than 56% of his passes, after racking up a completion rate of at least 60% in each of his first seven games of 2020.

Tough Sledding Ahead for Both

A quick peak at the NFL second half SOS reveals a difficult final two months for both of these teams. Indianapolis projects to face the league’s seventh toughest schedule down the stretch, while Tennessee is in line to face the ninth most difficult.

The Colts will have 10 days off before hosting the NFC North leading Green Bay Packers, and will follow that game up with a rematch versus the Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. They still have three games versus the 2-6 Texans and 1-7 Jaguars on their schedule, but also dates with the 5-3 Las Vegas Raiders, and the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tennessee meanwhile, will now embark on a difficult three game stretch that includes road games at the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens and the aforementioned Colts, followed by a home game against the 5-3 Cleveland Browns. They too still have to clash with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, and will also face a trio of sub .500 squads in Jacksonville, Detroit and Houston.

The South is Indy’s to Lose

As it stands today, Indianapolis is a far more complete team than Tennessee and a very deserving AFC South favorite. Their defense is a top-five unit, and while their offense isn’t elite, it’s still capable of eclipsing 30-points against inferior opponents.

The Titans meanwhile, are broken on defense. Excluding last week’s win versus Chicago (the league’s 28th ranked offense), they’ve allowed at least 27 points in five of their past six outings. They’re a bottom-12 scoring defense, and rank bottom-10 in total yards and passing yards allowed per game.

They’ve been outgained on offense in three of their past four outings, and Tannehill is playing his worst football of the season. His struggles coincide with the loss of All-Pro tackle Taylor Lewan, and it’s no coincidence that Tennessee is just 1-3 so far in Lewan’s absence.

The Week 12 clash in Indy could very well determine the eventual division winner, and that doesn’t bode well for the Titans. Indianapolis has won 14 of the last 17 meetings versus Tennessee, posting an 11-4-2 record against the spread over that stretch.

Pick: Indianapolis Colts (-117)

 

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Chris Amberley

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