The Indianapolis Colts are taking on the Tennessee Titans in Week 7 and the defense must show up this time if Indy is going to win.
Early in the season, it was the defense of the Indianapolis Colts that was carrying the team. They were one of the best units against the run and strong performances from Grover Stewart, Zaire Franklin, and Stephon Gilmore helped Indy win its first two games. However, the defense has regressed a couple of notches since the hot start.
In Week 6 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis allowed 27 points while giving up an abysmal 243 yards on the ground. That was completely uncharacteristic for a unit that entered the game allowing less than 100 yards a game on the ground. Jacksonville was able to break off long runs of 61 and 48 yards but also had several chunk runs of over 10 yards.
Whether the defense struggled because the Jaguars just have Indy’s number or because it was just an off day for a strong unit, the Colts must turn their levels back up because on Sunday, they’re facing a team they already struggled to contain on the ground: the Tennessee Titans.
Colts need rush defense to show up against Titans
When Indianapolis played Tennessee in Week 4, Derrick Henry ran for 99 yards in the first half and the Titans put up 24 points in the first two quarters. The Colts played much better in the second half, shutting Tennessee out and limiting them to just 127 rushing yards in the game, but the first half was enough damage for Indianapolis to lose.
If Indy is going to go on the road and beat the Titans, the defense has to show up from the first play of the game and they must stop Derrick Henry. That won’t be easy considering that Henry and the Titans are coming off a bye week but these are the kind of challenges that good defenses are built for. Something that could help the Colts is the return of Shaquille Leonard.
After breaking his nose in his first return in Week 4 against the Titans, Leonard has since been sidelined as he recovered from nose surgery and a concussion. It’s not clear if Leonard will be able to play yet but his presence on the practice field is a good sign. If Leonard can’t play Sunday, the Colts still are in good shape to shut down Tennessee.
As stated earlier, Grover Stewart and Zaire Franklin have been great this season against the run. Additionally, DeForest Buckner has hit his stride and is currently playing elite football. Those are just a few of the names on this talented Indianapolis defense, however, names don’t win games. Indy’s defense must show up on Sunday and show out. The offense may not be able to overcome another underwhelming performance from the defense.