AFC South NFL Betting Preview: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

andrew-luck-colts-2015Tennessee at Indianapolis
Spread: IND -2.5
Total: 52.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Tennessee Titans are a much improved 5-5 and are in second place in the AFC South. Tennessee will travel to face the Indianapolis Colts as 2.5 point underdogs in NFL odds at bookmaker 5dimes. The over/under is set high at 52.5 points for the game which will air at Noon (Central) on CBS.

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The Titans last week disposed of Green Bay 47-25 behind a 21-point first quarter and 295 passing yards and four TDs from second-year phenom Marcus Mariota. Mariota threw 19 of 26, connecting with Delanie Walker on 9 of 11 targetted passes for 124 yards and a TD, while Tajae Sharpe and Rishard Matthews each had three catches and 68 and 63 yards, respectively. DeMarco Murray had a big day rushing the football too with 123 yards on 17 attempts with a TD. Murray caught two passes for 33 yards, as well, as the Titans gained 459 total yards on the day.

Mariota has been very good in his sophomore season after missing all but one game of his true rookie season a year ago. He has thrown for 2,482 yards and 21 TDs while having thrown eight interceptions. Mariota’s passer rating is 99.6, and he averages 7.8 yards per attempt while completing 64 percent of his passes. Mariota has rushed for 235 yards, too, on 40 attempts with two rushing TDs and 12 first downs. Murray averages 4.9 yards per carry and is closing in on a 1,000 yards season with eight TDs and 45 first downs.

Walker, Matthews, Sharpe and Kendall Wright all have 300 yards receiving or more on the season, and Matthews leads the way with six TDs and 23 first downs, team bests. Murray has caught 37 of 46 targetted passes out of the backfield for 259 yards and two TDs. The Titans are a tough offensive team and average 26.4 points per game, ranking No. 8 in the NFL. Murray is facing a foot injury, but he is expected to play.

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The rush attack is the third-best in the NFL, and the only thing holding Tennessee back is its mediocre defense.

Tennessee allows 25.1 points per game.

The Titans have given up 30 points per game over the past three contests but been fortunate enough to win two of them. However, giving up 26 points to the Cleveland Browns was an inexcusable gaffe that the Titans are lucky did not result in a loss. In order for Tennessee to make the next step as a legitimate playoff team, it will have to solidify its defense and add some defensive playmakers. Tennessee does have 28 sacks on the season and 22 tackles for loss, but its opponents have 35 tackles for loss (though just 13 sacks). The Titans are getting a lot from Avery Williamson (46 solo tackles, 25 assisted), and Brian Orakpo has nine sacks. Derrick Morgan has 6.5 sacks.

The Colts are 4-5 and in third place in the AFC South. This game is absolutely crucial to start to try to make up the half-game lead Tennessee holds in the divisional standings. The Colts won 31-26 over Green Bay last week after losing 30-14 to Kansas City two weeks ago. Andrew Luck has 2,565 yards on the season at a 63.7 percent passing ratio, and he has 17 TDs to seven INTs. His 33 sacks are problematic, and he has lost 208 yards on those while posting a passer rating of just 93.9.

In the backfield, Frank Gore has been marginally successful at best, with a 4.1 yard per attempt average and just four TDs on the season (65.8 yards per game).

Luck has rushed for 224 yards at 5.2 yards per attempt, but he has rushed just 43 times and averages 24.9 yards per game on the ground. The Colts still rank tied for No. 6 in points per game at 26.6, but the team ranks No. 23 in rushing yardage and just No. 12 in passing yardage. Its defense gives up 28.4 points per game, which is No. 29 in the NFL. Indianapolis does not appear to have what it takes this season due to the lack of rushing and pourous defense. The Colts give up 382.8 yards per game and rank No. 28 with 3,625 allowed on the season.

Its poor secondary has been responsible for pass offenses averaging 287.9 yards per game on Indy, and without vast improvement from being the worst in the league this team cannot sniff much better than a sub-.500 season out of the postseason.

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