On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts will host the Tennessee Titans for the first matchup of the season between these two teams. In recent years, this has developed into a tense, rivalry, as the games are usually always physical, competitive, and consequential in terms of division standings.
Unfortunately for the Colts, the Titans will enter Sunday’s matchup on a five-game win streak against Indy. While the games have been competitive in recent years, there’s no debating who’s been the better team. Tennessee has won the AFC South twice in the last three years, while Indy hasn’t won it since 2014.
Entering this game week, the matchup didn’t necessarily have the same edge that it has in recent past. The Colts are coming off a 4-12-1 season, and Tennessee finished second in the division last year. However, every team in the AFC South is 2-2, so the outcome will impact division standings.
Make no mistake, though, this is still a rivalry. Colts linebacker EJ Speed made that clear with some fiery comments on Wednesday. The linebacker was asked if Indy needed to get psyched up to play Derrick Henry and the Titans, and he responded that it’s Henry and Tennessee that needs to get psyched up, because the Titans know what the Colts are going to bring.
EJ Speed says Derrick Henry and Titans need to get psyched up to play Colts
Speed went on to say that they don’t have to approach Henry any different because “tackling is tackling. You always tackle low,” making sure to let everyone know that he’s never fallen victim to Derrick Henry’s famous stiff arm. Speed did make it clear that he respects Henry, revealing that he “chopped it up with him a little bit” in Texas during the offseason.
Honestly, this is the mindset you hope a linebacker has. Even if the Titans have defeated the Colts five straight times, and Henry averaged 120 rushing yards a game over those five games, Speed and the Colts defense should enter the game believing that they are the dominant unit on the field. Most importantly, they must be prepared to actually prove it.
The Colts have a really good defensive front, but between injuries and a down game, they really struggled against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4. If Indy wants to win Sunday, and have bragging rights over Derrick Henry and the Titans, EJ Speed and the Colts defense must contain Henry.