The Colts and Titans would very much like to forget last weekend’s debacles. They’ll get a chance right away.
Indianapolis (6-3, No. 8 in the AP Pro32) leads the AFC South and pretty much can put away Tennessee (4-5, No. 21, AP Pro32) with a victory Thursday night. Of course, the Colts need to play far, far better than they did in being routed at home by St. Louis 38-8.
And the Titans must show a lot more than they presented in handing Jacksonville its first win of the season last Sunday, 29-27 — at Nashville, no less.
Indy has been plagued by slow starts, and not having star receiver Reggie Wayne has become a huge problem. The Colts have been down in the first quarter by double digits against Miami, Seattle and Houston. The Rams got a big lead early in the second period.
“Like I said, we’re not the hunters no more. We’re the hunted,” cornerback Vontae Davis said. “So teams are coming out throwing punches at us.”
Tennessee took a haymaker last week just when it could have climbed within one game of the division-leading Colts. Starting quarterback Jake Locker is done for the season with a right foot injury.
His replacement, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, is eager to get his team off to another of those fast starts against Indy.
“When things are doing well, you can feel that momentum and feels like the football field gets slanted, and it gets you on a roll and you start scoring points,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’d be good to get that going early.”
Look for the Colts to be doing that instead.
No. 19 Cleveland (plus 5½) at No. 10 Cincinnati — Browns could really shake up AFC North with win. Close, but ... BEST BET: BENGALS, 20-17
No. 4 New England (plus 2½) at No. 6 Carolina, Monday night — Time to start believing ... in Patriots. ... UPSET SPECIAL: PATRIOTS, 17-13
No. 1 Kansas City (plus 8) at No. 3 Denver — Game of the Year, Part I. Peyton needs protection from that nasty KC defense. ... BRONCOS, 21-14
No. 9 San Francisco (plus 3) at No. 5 New Orleans — It won’t be a Big Easy for Saints against ticked-off Niners. But New Orleans will win. ... SAINTS, 27-20
No. 12 New York Jets (plus 1) at No. 27 Buffalo — Jets end their alternate win/loss pattern. ... JETS, 20-19
No. 7 Detroit (minus 2) at No. 25 Pittsburgh — Lions showing some mettle on the road. ... LIONS, 24-17
No. 24 Washington (plus 3½) at No. 14 Philadelphia — Time for Eagles to show some mettle at home. ... EAGLES, 27-24
No. 17 Baltimore (plus 3) at No. 11 Chicago — Some folks think Bears better off with McCown than Cutler. ... RAVENS, 16-14
No. 28 Minnesota (plus 13½) at No. 2 Seattle — Just too tired of laying so many points with Seahawks at home. ... SEAHAWKS, 24-13
No. 13 Green Bay (plus 6½) at No. 22 New York Giants — Giants’ climb back into NFC East race continues. ... GIANTS, 23-13
No. 15 Arizona (minus 6½) at No. 32 Jacksonville — Cardinals quietly building something, but Jags are improving. ... CARDINALS, 17-13
No. 18 San Diego (minus 1) at No. 23 Miami — Chargers struggling; no one is struggling like Dolphins ... CHARGERS, 26-13
No. 30 Atlanta (minus 1) at No. 31 Tampa Bay — Falcons have to get off this slide sometime. ... FALCONS, 20-16
No. 26 Oakland (plus 7) at No. 29 Houston — Gary Kubiak’s return to sideline should inspire Texans to break their slide. ... TEXANS, 22-17
2013 RECORD: Against spread: 7-7 (64-74-4). Straight up: 8-6 (88-60).
Best Bet: 4-6 against spread, 9-1 straight up.
Upset special: 3-7 against spread, 1-9 straight up.