The NFL moves into week ten of its 2020 season. This week, Thursday Night Football’s matchup is a battle for the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans. Both teams come into this game with winning records, Indianapolis at 5-3 and Tennessee at 6-2. The winner of this game takes control of the division with six games to go in the regular season. In other words, tonight’s game is crucial for both teams as both Indianapolis and Tennessee look to make a playoff push.
Why the Colts are 5-3
So far, a surprise in the AFC this season is the success the Indianapolis Colts are having. The Colts signed former Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers this offseason after missing out on Tom Brady. Even with Rivers, a giant question mark hung over the organization. It wasn’t known what this team would look like with the leadership of Rivers and his friendly trash talking. So far through ten games, Rivers appears to be on track to throw for yards than last year’s quarterback for Indianapolis Jacoby Brissett. This season, Rivers has thrown for ten touchdowns, seven interceptions, 2,087 yards, has a completion percentage of 69.9 percent and a passer rating of 91.9. Considering what Rivers has to work with, these are great stats. When looking at who Rivers is throwing to, outside of T.Y. Hilton, Rivers is really working with amateur or rookie talent.
400th TD Pass for Phillip Rivers! #ForTheShoe
— Matty B🎄 (@mattthew_jordan) September 27, 2020
A huge reason reason why the Colts have been successful is because of their defense. The Indianapolis defense is a top 5 defense this year lead by Linebacker Darius Leonard. Darius Leonard has been a nightmare for offenses this season. He has 51 total tackles, 37 solo tackles, 1 sack, and has forced and recovered a fumble. Even if he is not directly involved in a play, he still plays a roll. Leonard is the conductor of this defense. So far, the defense has just continued to move in the right direction and don’t appear to stop anytime soon. Tonight, they face a tall task in stopping this Tennessee offense.
The Titans are not one year wonders
Yes, the Tennessee Titans are not one year wonders. Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown are legit. First, Ryan Tannehill. This man owes a huge thank you to the Miami Dolphins for trading him. If this trade never happened, Tannehill and possibly the Titans wouldn’t be where they are now. Tannehill is proving that he can be a franchise quarterback each week, yes even in that loss to Pittsburgh. This season, Tannehill has thrown for 19 touchdowns, three interceptions, 1,981 yards, has a completion percentage of 65.7 percent and a passer rating of 109.4. On top of that he has also rushed for 105 yards and one touchdown. Tannehill has had some help succeeding though from A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry.
A.J. Brown is a top receiver in the NFL. The Titans found a long term weapon. A.J. Brown makes defensive coordinators think twice about how to cover him because he is that versatile. Yes, it is only his second year in the league, but Brown is already the real deal. Obviously, Brown has avoided the sophomore slump, and it should come to no surprise. Brown has six touchdowns, 457 yards and averages 14.7 yards per reception. This man is a guaranteed first down, and that is a reason why Tannehill loves to throw to him. On top of that, he has some of the best footwork skills in the game and can make a tight throw look easy to catch. Hands down, he has the best field awareness in the league.
Then, there’s the king. Derrick Henry. The reigning rushing yard leader from a season ago. Derrick Henry is a nightmare for defenses. In a one on one situation, Derrick Henry wins just about every time because of how big he is. He is not a normal sized running back.
In almost every game this season, Derrick Henry breaks a long run for either a touchdown or gets close to the end zone. On the year, Henry has eight touchdowns, 843 yards, and averages 4.6 yards per carry. However, if this man gets into open field, kiss him goodbye, nobody will catch him. If Tannehill appears to be in a slump, Henry sees action, and he runs all over defenses.
Considering that this is a home game for Tennessee it’s hard not to go with them. Even though Indianapolis has a great defense, tonight, Derrick Henry shows off his power and speed and exposes this defense.
Tannehill and AJ Brown will have early chemistry with one another. Indianapolis will struggle. Rivers who normally tends to be slow out the gate, will be slow again which is something he cant afford to do in this crucial AFC South battle. Tennessee will win this game in a blow out fashion.
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– Matt Burnett (mattthew_jordan on Twitter)