It’s a do-or-die situation for the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sunday night. Fittingly, this matchup was flexed to the Sunday Night Football spot. This is essentially an extension of the playoffs, with the winner moving on and the loser going home. Their landing spots could be as high as the 3rd seed, the 6th seed, or out altogether.
The stakes are high in Nashville this evening and the Titans aren’t sure if they will have their starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota. More accurately, they might know, they’re just not going to show their cards and let anyone know before Sunday. If Mariota can’t go, Blaine Gabbert will get the nod for the Titans. Considering it looked like Gabbert wasn’t going to last three years in the league when he was in Jacksonville, he’s made a career out of being a backup and spot starter.
Mariota returned to practice on Thursday after suffering a stinger last week. It’s likely he starts, but if he shows any ill effects on the field, Gabbert will ready to go in for the Titans. The key to this game is going to be the Titans’ defense, though. Frustrate Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense, and they’re going to hang around in this game. Luck is clearly better than Mariota and Gabbert, but homefield and a jacked up defense in their own stadium may even things out on Sunday night.
Don’t get it wrong, though, the Colts’ defense has been the real MVP’s of their season. Luck playing well is expected. He’s getting paid to play at this level, but the defense has made the greatest strides. They’ve gone from a bottom defense to what might be the most underrated defense in the NFL. Their defense was on point in a 38-10 win over the Titans in their first meeting this season. Luck passed for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns in a dominant showing back in November. It’s not going to be under a roof in Indianapolis in Week 17, however. Head below for our free Colts vs. Titans pick in the final game of the 2018 regular season.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans NFL Week 17 Betting Odds:
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Colts vs. Titans Pick:
The Colts enter Sunday night with a record of 9-6. Same goes for the Titans, who own a mark of 9-6 heading into the regular season finale. Indianapolis come into Week 17 with three wins in a row, and the Titans have won four games straight. You wouldn’t know that the Titans were playing that well given how the Colts are getting all of the attention going into this game.
There aren’t too many people who are siding with the Titans in this spot despite playing solid football lately. Why? Well, the Colts are victors in eight of their last nine games. Their only hiccup was a 6-0 loss to the Jaguars. Their most impressive win had to be a 23-0 route of the Dallas Cowboys a couple of weeks ago. They barely made it past the Giants by a score of 28-27 last week. Conversely, the Titans beat the Redskins, 25-16, behind a stellar performance from the defensive unit.
Tennessee finished 7th in the NFL with 326.5 yards allowed per game. With respects to points allowed, they’re 2nd with only 18 points given up on average. The Ravens are the only team who are better in that respect by 0.5 points. At home in Nashville, the Titans have gone 6-1 and surrendered 16.8 points per game. On the other side, the Colts are 3-4 on the road with 23 points scored per game.
The Colts have the clear upper-hand at quarterback with Luck. I do believe that the Tennessee defense isn’t going to make this game easy on him, though. Homefield advantage should prove to be the difference in this game. It’s tough to run the tables against a divisional opponent twice in a season, and it’s even more difficult doing it on the road in the second meeting. This is likely going to be a game that comes down to the 4th quarter. Give me the home team and the points in what amounts to the AFC South championship game.