We weren’t sure where the Tennessee Titans would be heading into Week 3.
However, we seemed fairly certain where the defending AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts would be.
After loading up on playmakers like running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson in the off-season, the Colts became a trendy Super Bowl pick. And why not? Those two, plus Andrew Luck, was a formula for success.
Except for that it hasn’t been. Indy has sputtered out of the gate with losses to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, scoring only 21 combined points in the process.
Maybe the Colts aren’t who we thought they were.
But Indy isn’t the only team that we’re unsure about at this point. After completely dominating the Tampa Bay Bucs by four touchdowns to start the season, the Titans responded with a lackluster performance in Cleveland.
Sure, the final score was 28-14, but it felt much worse than that. It simply wasn’t the same team that we saw in Tampa and certainly didn’t give Titans fans a lot of hope that this franchise had finally turned the corner.
Marcus Mariota looked human. The offensive line looked overwhelmed. And the defense made Johnny Manziel look like a superstar.
It was the complete opposite of what we saw from this team a week earlier, and perhaps that’s why it’s disappointing. It wasn’t that the Titans took a minor step back, as that seemed inevitable. It had more to do with how big of a step back it was.
So there’s no doubt that two desperate teams will be taking the field as Nissan Stadium on Sunday. The question is, which team is more desperate?
That’s an easy one to answer. It’s the Colts.
For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, 0-2 is incredibly deflating. No, that wasn’t a joke about Indy’s involvement in Deflategate. That’s just the truth.
The Colts have looked inept on offense against two teams that may struggle to make the playoffs come January. Luck has already thrown five interceptions on the year, with only three touchdowns to his credit. Where is this offense that was destined to average 30+ points per game? That’s the millionaire dollar question for head coach Chuck Pagano and his staff.
For the Titans’ sake, hopefully the Colts don’t find it this weekend. While not as close to hitting the panic button as the Colts are, the Titans need to get back some momentum after the Browns loss.
Tennessee doesn’t hit the road again until November, so Mariota and company will have time to fix their mistakes in front of the home crowd.
A win over the Colts would be a great way to start. Not only would it erase the ugly loss in Cleveland, but it would also put the Titans in the AFC South driver’s seat.
On the surface, that doesn’t mean a whole lot only three weeks into the season. However, it would put the Colts in a horrible situation at 0-3. It would also give Ken Whisenhunt’s team a large boost of confidence heading into the bye week.
Accomplishing that will be far from easy. Both teams need this game. It’s just that the Colts need it a little bit more.
Tennessee isn’t getting the Colts team that it thought it would be getting. Instead, the Titans are getting a team in desperation mode.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Colts know how much they need this game, and they’ll play with a chip on on their shoulder as they try to prove that their 0-2 start was nothing to be concerned about.
The Titans had better be ready. If not, they may be ones hitting the panic button.