Indianapolis Colts

Colts’ defense needs to show up to beat Titans

16 October, 2016: Indianapolis Colts Cornerback Vontae Davis (21) is ruled down by contact after he steals the ball following a completed pass during the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

Through the first six games of the season, the Indianapolis Colts have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. And they’re about to face a red hot Titans offense on Sunday.

The Colts are allowing the third-most yards per game this season. Only Oakland and New Orleans have given up more yards to opposing offenses per contest. Indy has also allowed the fifth-most points in the league per game, and they’re tied with three other teams for the fewest amount of interceptions forced (2) to start the season.

The Colts are also tied with two other teams for the third-fewest sacks by a defense this year.

Indy’s inept defense is a large reason why they’re currently 2-4 and at the bottom of the AFC South. The Colts had a two-score lead over the Houston Texans on Sunday night, but their defense was unable to stop Houston from knotting it up and eventually winning in overtime.

Now the Colts get to face a Titans’ offense that has finally found some rhythm over the past two weeks.

The Titans have piled up 819 yards of offense over the last two weeks, including a total of 372 rushing yards. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has thrown six touchdowns and only one interception over the last two weeks, and DeMarco Murray has racked up 202 total yards of offense in that same span.

And the Colts have one of the leakiest run defenses in the league.

Indianapolis has given up 117.7 rushing yards a game this season, and the Titans are averaging 146.7 rushing yards per game this year, the third-highest total in the NFL. DeMarco Murray has the fourth-most rushing yards in the league this season, totaling 526 yards on 114 carries, scoring four times on the ground as well. Murray has had two 100-yard games so far this season, and the Colts have allowed two running backs to run for over 100-yards to start the year as well. Murray and the Titans’ rushing attack should get a chance to feast in this one.

Stopping the Titans’ offense now that they’re rolling is enough of a task for the Colts’ maligned defense. But Tennessee’s defense will make it even harder for the Colts’ offense to alleviate the pressure.

On the season, the Titans have sacked opposing quarterbacks 18 times, which is the fifth-highest total in the NFL. So far, the Colts have given up a league-worst 23 sacks on the year. This match-up doesn’t bode well for an already struggling Colts offense that hasn’t been consistent all season. The Titans are also only allowing 21.2 points a game and have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, giving up a mere 88.5 rushing yards a game to opponents.

The Titans have only allowed opposing offenses to score more than 20 points twice this season (Minnesota scored two non-offensive touchdowns in their 25-16 win). Houston’s offense scored 20 points and Cleveland scored 26 points. Other than that, the Titans have held opponents to manageable scores.

Indy, meanwhile, can’t prevent anyone from scoring.

The Colts are averaging 26.7 points a game this season, scoring at least 20 points in all six of their games. Their defense, however, is giving up an average of 29 points per game. Indy has allowed 30 or more points three times this season, including 39 points to Detroit in the first game of the season.

So far this season, Indy’s defense hasn’t showed up. They haven’t been able to get key stops, cause disruption, or slow down even average offenses. Unless they can contain one of the most dangerous running games in the league and slow down a hot offense, the Colts will be in trouble on Sunday.

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