Apologies for nothing on Monday night but I couldn’t bring myself to write about that heap of shit.
As it happens I’d have got things wrong anyway, I was so down on the Jets that I thought the Pats would cover in a low-scoring affair. I over-looked the fact that the Patriots defense is terrible and apparently can make Joe Flacco look like he did 10 years ago. The Pats won at the end of the game which the Jets were probably grateful for and the world moves on as before.
It moves on to Thursday night for a much more appetising matchup, at least on paper as the winner of this one takes control of the AFC South at the start of the second half of the season.
(5-3) Colts -1 @ Titans (6-2): 48.5
Thursday night games so far.
- Straight up; Home 4 – 4 Road
- ATS; Underdogs 6 – 2 Favourites; – Home 2 – 6 Road
- Totals; Unders 4 – 4 overs.
|Totals (per game)||Colts||Titans|
|Total points||208 (26)||232 (29)|
|1st half||123 (15.4)||106 (13.3)|
|2nd half||85 (10.6)||120 (15)|
|1st quarter||35 (4.4)||44 (5.5)|
|2nd quarter||88 (11)||62 (7.8)|
|3rd quarter||30 (3.8)||46 (5.8)|
|4th quarter||55 (6.9)||74 (9.3)|
The Colts aren’t the most exciting team in the world, they’ve got the parts on paper, but the product on the field just doesn’t draw me too them week on week.
Philip Rivers has been fine, that’s a word you’ll see many times in this preview. “Fine” He’s 15th in yards, 10 TDs to 7 INTs and his QBR ranks him 20th. He’s been fine. He’s always put up the yards but has issues with ball security on the whole. He’s poor under pressure and decent enough when not pressured, he can still chuck it downfield in his own unique style, and loves throwing the the tight end and running back positions.
I can’t blame him for using the RBs and TEs for a lot of the season, the WR group has been varied with TY Hilton out or injured for most of the year, rookie Michael Pittman has missed a few as well although had his best numbers of the year last week against the Ravens. It looks like Hilton will be back for this one adding some experience to the pass-catching group. Marcus Johnson has been the downfield threat for the team while Zach Pascal has been, well, fine. With players coming back to health it’s tough to figure out the situation there, Hilton and Pittman should be the main targets, so the likes of longest reception on Johnson isn’t as tempting as I first thought.
The tight ends are the usual go-to’s for Rivers though, and they’re depleted for this game with Jack Doyle out with concussion and Big Mo likely to miss out through injury as well it probably means a lot more for Trey Burton who’s done pretty well when he’s been the only man there, both catching passes and with random rushes at the goal-line scoring 2 rushing TDs to his 1 receiving. I would assume DeMichael Harris will be the TE2 for this one.
The run game has been really disappointing after how it looked last year, many expected Jonathon Taylor to hit the ground running after the Marlon Mack injury but he’s averaging just 3.9 yards per carry on his 106 carries scoring 4 TDs. He can do it through the air too but they use Nyheim Hines for that role, although looking at the number, not as much as I’d expected, just 28 receptions in 8 games this season for him. There’s more worry for Taylor’s role as well as he was benched after he fumbled last week for Jordan Wilkins who looked better running the ball than he did, although somehow has an even worse YPC. It should be a great game behind a great offensive line it’s just not working.
Defensively a lot relies on Darius Leonard playing and playing well. He’s their jenga piece and without him it’s just not the same unit, especially stopping the run. DVOA still has them ranked highly at #3 overall, 5th against the pass and 2nd against the run according to them.
The Colts have won the 1st quarter 3 times, only gone on to win the game once; they’ve got the first half 6 times and gone on to win 4 of those games and scored in every quarter of 3 of their games this year.
The Titans aren’t the easiest team to judge either, I think they’re still a decent team but I got to watch them get battered by the Bengals for a lot of the game between those two, the two losses they’ve had this year were against the AFC North at the Steelers and Bengals. They came on strong in the second half of last year as the weather turned and they ran Derrick Henry 200 times a game. As a team they’re still ruthlessly efficient in the red-zone sitting 2nd with 80% conversion to TDs when they get to that part of the field.
Ryan Tannehill has run the Arthur Smith offense perfectly since taking over from Mariota last year and last week was the opitime of what they want to do, much like the playoffs last year, 10 completions for 158 yards and 2 TDs is pretty much what they’d like to do each game. They use a fair bit of play-action and Tannehills mobility allows him to scramble when needed, he’s only had one rushing TD so far this year though.
The plan for them is to get in front and leave it to Henry when they win the 1st quarter they win the game, when they win the 1st half they win the game. They’ve done that 3 and 4 times respectively this season. Henry leads the league in attempts, 2nd in yards and is 3rd in TDs this year with 8 after a blank last week against the Bears. D’onta Foreman seems to be the RB2 there now after a horrible couple of years with injury, he looked good before those happened and ran well against the Bengals when I was watching.
The passing game was a lot of TE but the return of AJ Brown has given them a giant wide receiver and he makes use of it, with some big catches, I’ve said many a time he’s basically the Derrick Henry of the passing game, once he gets going he’s near impossible to stop. They tend to get him the ball across the middle so he can use that YAC ability but he’ll do it on the outside too as he did last week. Corey Davis has had a decent season too, 29 receptions and 3 TDs in 5 games before a dud last week. Outside of those two they use Kalif Raymond as a deep threat, Cameron Batson? It gets a little sparse at WR.
They do have some very good tight ends though, Jonnu Smith is another giant of a man and his 6 TDs have him 7th in receiving TDs this year, while Anthony Firkser has been increasingly involved in the passing game this year.
They’re not great on defense. 18th overall, 24th vs the pass and 15th vs the run according to DVOA. The utter lack of pass rush has caused them a lot of issues and is probably the reason for their poor performance on that side of the ball.
It should be an interesting game with the teams knowing each other well with it being a divisional matchup, but it seems to me that the Colts matchup well with the Titans.
If Leonard plays then it’s a run-stuffing unit which can keep Henry in check, the offensive line is still one of the best in the league and should give Rivers plenty of time to check down to his RBs or hit his TE.
The line has been all over the place on this one with both teams having been favourites at one point during the week, the Titans -2.5 at the start of it, but it’s -1 at the time of writing and I think that’s where it should be.
I think the Colts win, I would have to think it’s going to be largely run-heavy so have to lean under on the total. – My worry against the Colts is that the Titans are capable of big plays while they’re not. It takes one completion to AJ Brown for a 95 yard TD to turn the game on it’s head.
- Trey Burton o24.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (Skybet)
- Trey Burton anytime TD – 3.75 (WillHill)
I’ll stick to the Burton bets and hope he gets all the TE work with the other two gents out of the game.
Burton and Jonnu Smith 50+ yards and a TD each at 50s on Skybet is going to have a small sample of my cash too.