Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) gets past Indianapolis Colts free safety Julian Blackmon (32) for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
- Titans blast Colts in Week 12 showdown to move into first in AFC South
- Derrick Henry ran wild for three first-half TD’s
- Read below to find out who we like win the AFC South
Things have quickly taken a turn in the AFC South.
In a battle of 7-3 squads, the Tennessee Titans used the power running of Derrick Henry, who rushed for three first-half scores in a runaway 45-26 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The victory puts the Titans at 8-3 with five games left in the season, while the short-handed Colts fall to 7-4.
Now with the Titans sitting a game up on the Colts, the AFC South odds are clearly in their favor to take home the AFC South division title.
2020 AFC South Odds
Odds taken Nov. 29 at FanDuel
Henry Runs Wild
Henry was a one-man wrecking crew, as he single-handedly took down the Colts, carrying the ball 27 times for 178 yards and three scores.
.@KingHenry_2 has 140 yards rushing and THREE TDs.
We’re still in the 2nd quarter.
📺: #TENvsIND on CBS
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/bEHwkuL043 pic.twitter.com/ccOEokLod9
— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2020
He put up 6.6 yards per carry, and rushed for over 100 yards for a third straight game. It was also the eighth straight game on the road Henry has gone over 100 yards.
Henry showed off all his rushing skills, running through the Colts, eluding defenders, and even dragging tacklers.
With Henry running like he did late in the 2019 season and in the postseason, the Titans are truly a force in the AFC again.
For Good Reason
While Henry was the best player on the field Sunday, he and the Titans’ offense had a decisive advantage thanks to some key injuries to the Colts starting defense.
Absent from Sunday’s key AFC South matchup for the Cots were Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, starting linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive end Denico Autry.
Henry got Tennessee off to a quick start, as he ran the ball on six of the first 10 Titans plays and scored to give them an early 7-0 edge.
The Colts had the number two rush defense entering play Sunday, but Henry put up 140 yards in just the first half as the Titans led at the break 35-14.
That’s 5,000 career rushing yards for @KingHenry_2… And he ain’t done yet. 👑
📺: Watch #TENvsIND on CBS pic.twitter.com/eoCeX9DfUj
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) November 29, 2020
Things didn’t go much better for the Colts in the second half, as the team couldn’t get back into the game thanks to the Titans controlling the tempo with the ground game.
Injuries are a part of the game, and with the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, it’s been a bigger factor more than ever in the NFL.
It is no reason for failing to win a key game like the Colts on Sunday, but was a factor in the game and something that the Titans took advantage of in the win.
Unlike The First Meeting
Their previous head-to-head meeting went the way of Indianapolis, 34-17 in Nashville.
At the time, it tied up the AFC South with both teams at 6-3. Indianapolis dominated the second half of the first meeting, outscoring the Titans 21-0 in the win.
#Titans score easily and the #Colts do too. 7-7 early here at Lucas Oil.
Philip Rivers showing that training camp connection with TE Trey Burton 👐🏼
12 play, 75 yard opening drive.pic.twitter.com/A0FCH8hRMo
— Taylor Tannebaum (@TaylorTannebaum) November 29, 2020
Veteran Colts quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 308 yards in that first win, but was held in check Sunday at home by the Titans, throwing for 295 yards with a touchdown and interception, but he just wasn’t as effective as he was in game one.
That first meeting saw the Colts defense hold the Titans to just 294 yards while their offense piled on 430 yards.
The Colts run defense did a solid job on Henry and the Titans run game as a whole, limiting Henry to 103 yards on 19 carries and no touchdowns, and holding the team to 157 yards. In the rematch, the Titans piled up 229 yards on the ground.
The Final Five
Now holding a one-game lead and in control of the division, the Titans can look ahead to their final five games and try to position themselves in the AFC to host a playoff game at home in Nashville.
The Titans will play the 8-3 Cleveland Browns at home on December 6th. After that they head to play the 1-10 Jacksonville Jaguars before hosting the 4-7 Detroit Lions December 20th.
They wrap up the regular season with a huge prime time game on December 27th against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on the road. They head to Houston to play the Texans on January 3rd.
Super Bowl 55 Odds Tracker
The Colts’ final five game starts with an AFC South game in Houston against the Texans on December 6th, and then the team heads to Las Vegas to play the Raiders on December 13th.
After that they host the Texans in another AFC South game on December 20th, before going to Pittsburgh to play the currently undefeated Steelers on December 27th.
The Colts finale will see them play host to the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars on January 3rd at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Titans showed today why they’re the heavy favorite to win the South, and that is likely the best bet. But the Colts present you the best betting value, and a lot can change in the final five weeks. Bet wisely.
Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. He has extensive experience in covering MLB, NBA, NFL, and college events. He’s written three books, and won the “2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award.”