Last season, the Titans earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC thanks to an efficient offense and a defense that made enough plays when it needed to. It's a formula they have used to much success under Mike Vrabel and one that was more or less expected to continue this year, especially with Derrick Henry back.

The Colts, meanwhile, spent a good chunk of last season looking like a potential darkhorse Super Bowl contender before a disastrous end to the season led to them missing the playoffs entirely. Indianapolis addressed what it deemed the main cause of those struggles by trading away Carson Wentz and replacing him with Matt Ryan.

The results have been underwhelming at best so far. Tennessee is 1-2 and Indianapolis is 1-1-1. Both sit behind the Jaguars in the AFC South, and both have a massively important game this weekend... against each other. Here are the stats that will go a long way toward determining Sunday's result.

NOTE: All ranks through Week 3.

Titans at Colts

When the Titans have the ball...

It's time for Tennessee to be a little bit more aggressive on early downs. The Titans have dropped back to pass on just 37.3 percent of first down plays this year, the third-lowest rate in the league only behind the extremely run-heavy Browns and 49ers. That's despite first down statistically being Ryan Tannehill's best down to throw so far this season. He looks to work the ball downfield while maintaining strong efficiency.

Ryan Tannehill This Season

1st Down

All Other Downs

Yards per attempt






Passer rating



Expected points added per dropback



>> Top five in the NFL

The Colts, meanwhile, are allowing the fifth-highest completion percentage and the sixth-highest yards per attempt on opponents' first-down throws.

Tannehill should be able to be a bit more aggressive in this game, too. The Colts have the fourth-worst sack rate (3.7 percent) and the fourth-worst pressure rate (27.9 percent) in the NFL. Tannehill has taken just 2.24 seconds to throw on average this season, the second-fastest among qualified quarterbacks; only Jimmy Garoppolo has gotten rid of the ball faster. The Colts have been very good at limiting deep throws -- just 12 completions 10 or more yards down field, tied for fewest in the league -- but Tannehill needs to make something happen considering the time he should be afforded.

No Titans offensive preview is complete without discussing Derrick Henry, who finally got on track last week with 143 scrimmage yards, more than his first two weeks combined. Normally we talk about his rushing chops, but Henry had five receptions -- one behind his career high-- and all five came out of the shotgun. The Colts defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in receptions and receiving yards allowed to running backs out of the shotgun.

When the Colts have the ball...

The Colts' biggest issue has been pressure. They can't apply it on defense, as we just discussed, and they can't prevent it on offense.

  • Matt Ryan has taken 12 sacks, fourth-most in the league, and has been sacked on 9.3 percent of his dropbacks, the sixth-highest rate in the league.
  • Ryan, never the most elusive player, is taking a sack nearly 32 percent of the time he gets pressured. Only Justin Fields has been worse.
  • Ryan is producing -0.80 expected points added per dropback when he's pressured. Only Garoppolo and Mac Jones have been worse.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the Titans rank among the bottom dozen in the NFL in pressure rate, and after sacking Daniel Jones five times in Week 1, they have just two sacks over the last two weeks.

Ryan's up-and-down start to his time in Indy has largely been due to his tendency to hold onto the ball too long.

Matt Ryan Time to Throw This Season

2.5 Seconds or Fewer

More than 2.5 Seconds




Passer rating



Off-target pct



There is more good news for Ryan and the Colts. The Titans have surrendered a 110.6 passer rating on passes thrown in 2.5 seconds or less, seventh-worst in the league. Having a healthy Michael Pittman Jr. is a huge help, too. In two games, Pittman Jr.'s 5.5 receptions per game on those quick throws is fourth in the league. Last season, Pittman Jr. had 16 receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns in two contests against Tennessee, and we should expect another big game for him on Sunday.

Like Henry with the Titans' offense, we have to talk about Jonathan Taylor when we discuss the Colts' attack. Taylor only failed to reach 100 scrimmage yards in four of 17 games last year; he's already failed to reach the mark twice in three games this year. But this game could mark a major opportunity for Taylor to get back on track.

Taylor is averaging a terrific 5.8 yards per rush on carries around the end (outside of where the tackles block). The Titans, meanwhile, are the worst team in the league at defending that area, allowing 8.0 yards per rush on those carries. Taylor is dangerous from anywhere on the field, but manufacturing touches to get to the edge -- against this defense -- makes him even more so.

How to watch

Date: Sunday, Oct. 2 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Colts -3.5, O/U 43