NFL Predictions: Colts at Titans Odds and Week 11 Picks
by Alan Matthews - 11/12/2013
The Tennessee Titans clearly were looking past the winless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and toward this big game Thursday night with Indianapolis as the Titans were stunned 29-27 at home by the Jaguars, who seem to have Tennessee's number. So instead of going into this game tied for the final wild-card spot in the AFC and just a game behind the Colts in the AFC South, now it's almost a desperation game for the Titans (4-5), and they will have to win it with their backup quarterback.
Perhaps the Colts took their Week 10 opponent for granted as well as they were thoroughly dominated at home by St. Louis 38-8, Indy's worst-ever loss at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have struggled to start the past two games, falling behind 21-3 at the half in Houston in Week 9 only to rally. The Rams were up 28-0 at the intermission Sunday, and there was no comeback in the cards for Andrew Luck this time.
That loss could be huge in terms of landing a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. Now the Colts (6-3) are No. 3 behind Kansas City (9-0) and New England (7-2). The last thing a team will want to do is finish as the third seed in the AFC, because it likely will mean a first-round matchup with either Kansas City or Denver on wild-card weekend, whichever of those teams doesn't win the AFC West. If the Colts can win here, they should take the AFC South as they would have a three-game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Titans visiting Indy in Week 13. Tennessee, meanwhile, starts a three-game road trip next week in Oakland and is looking at a sure loss in Week 14 at Denver. It does close with three very winnable games.
Colts at Titans Week 11 Betting Story Lines
It will be up to Ryan Fitzpatrick under center for Tennessee after Jake Locker went down with a Lisfranc foot injury, one of the most serious injuries a player can have to his feet. Makes you wonder if the Titans are ready to commit long-term to Locker or if it's time to go in another direction from the first-round pick. He was just OK in seven games this year, completing 60.7 percent of his passes with eight TDs and four picks. Not great, not terrible. He can't seem to stay on the field, however, and there's a terrific QB class expected in the 2014 draft. It likely depends on whether Coach Mike Munchak returns next year. Fitzpatrick has played in four games this season, completing 56.8 percent of his throws for 790 yards, four TDs and four picks for a rating of 76.0 that would be 27th in the NFL if Fitzpatrick qualified.
The Titans may rely heavily on Chris Johnson in this one, and he's regressing. Johnson has exceeded 40 yards on the ground once in the past six games (Titans are 2-4) and is averaging only 3.6 yards per carry. Shonn Greene was supposed to be a nice change-of-pace back, but he's gotten only 23 carries all season largely because of injuries, but he hasn't been effective when on the field. Tennessee also will be without No. 3 receiver/return man Damian Williams and starting center Brian Schwenke this week due to injuries.
The Colts lost No. 1 receiver Reggie Wayne in their win over Denver on Oct. 20, and it's starting to show in Luck's production. He is completing just 54 percent of his passes in two November games with four TDs and three interceptions. Yes, Luck threw for a season-high 353 yards against the Rams, but 260 of those came in the second half when the game was already over. The Colts simply don't have anyone for Luck to throw to other than T.Y. Hilton, who has had back-to-back 100-yard games, and tight end Coby Fleener. Look for the Titans to stick top cornerback Alterraun Verner on Hilton. Verner leads the NFL in pass deflections (14) and interceptions (five).
It would help if Indy could run the ball, but Trent Richardson is officially a bust now. He had five carries for two yards against the Rams, and the Colts totaled 18 yards on 14 carries. Over their past six quarters, the Colts have 18 rush attempts in 102 plays and have said they plan to emphasize the ground game more starting this week. The Titans are No. 21 in rush defense, allowing 114.9 ypg.
Colts at Titans NFL Week 11 Betting Odds and Trends
At WagerWeb, Indianapolis is a three-point favorite with a total of 42. The Colts are 5-4 ATS (3-1 on road) and 5-4 “over/under” (1-3 on road). The Titans are 5-3-1 ATS (1-3-1 at home) and 6-3 O/U (4-1 at home). The Colts are 5-0 ATS in their past five road games against teams with a losing home record. Indy is 10-1 ATS in its past 11 after a loss. The Colts are 0-5 ATS in their past five after a double-digit home loss. The Titans are 5-0 ATS in their past five Thursday games and past five following an ATS loss. Tennessee has covered just two of its past 10 against the AFC South. The under is 5-1 in the Colts' past six after a loss. The over is 6-1 in Tennessee's past seven against teams with a winning record. The home team has covered five of the past seven meetings. The under is 6-2 in the past eight in Nashville.
NFL Predictions: Colts at Titans Week 11 Betting Picks
Indianapolis swept the series last year, although the Colts had to rally in both. It took overtime in the visit to Nashville, a 19-13 win on a Vick Ballard 16-yard screen past TD -- you may remember his acrobatic dive into the end zone as one of the best highlights of last year (he was upside down in midair). Frankly, the Titans should have won that game and probably the one in Indy when they blew a 13-point lead.
The Colts haven't lost back-to-back games under Coach Chuck Pagano, while the Titans have lost all three games this year in which Fitzpatrick has either started or thrown more than 20 passes. If Locker were playing, I'd like the home Titans here, but not with Fitzpatrick. Take Indy and the under. However, if the line gets to 3.5, I'd lean Tennessee. I have seen it at 2.5 a few places and really love Indy there.
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