KRAVITZ: Conversation with Titans writer Jim Wyatt

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Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Every week, Bob Kravitz chats with a reporter who covers the Indianapolis Colts' opponent. This week, he has an email conversation with Jim Wyatt, a writer covering the Titans for Titansonline.com.

Kravitz:

Have you made sense of the Titans yet through this early portion of the season? When they’ve looked good, they’ve looked terrific. When they haven’t, well, it hasn’t always been pretty. Who are these guys, and is this still the team that a lot of us expect to win the AFC South (assuming Marcus Mariota comes back in due time)?

Wyatt:

Well, the team hasn’t hit it stride yet. There have been good moments, including back-to-back wins over the Jaguars and Seahawks. The Titans turned it on in the second half of those games and looked really good. But then came a 57-14 loss to the Texans, and then a loss at Miami without Mariota. Five games in, the Titans aren’t where they want to be. But this is a talented team, a team definitely capable of getting on a roll like it did at the end of last season.

Kravitz:

For those of us who haven’t yet seen the Titans, what are their strengths and what are their weaknesses?

Wyatt:

Five games in, the team is still looking for consistency. I still believe the strength is up front with the offensive line and the running backs. The Titans are ranked ninth in the NFL in rushing, with running backs DeMarco Murray (273 yards) and Derrick Henry (187). In back to back wins, the Titans ran for 179 and 195 yards against Jacksonville and Seattle. But it’s a different team without Mariota. His presence opens things up in the running game. The Titans are missing first-round pick Corey Davis, who has been out since Week 2 with a hamstring injury. Big plays downfield have been limited because of his absence.

The Titans have excelled on special teams, with a punter (Brett Kern) averaging 51.8 yards per punt and a field goal kicker (Ryan Succop) who has made 46 consecutive kicks inside 50 yards, dating back to 2014.

The defense needs to be more consistent, but I think it will settle down as guys learn to play alongside on another. Pressure has been good at times, but more sacks are needed – just eight in five games so far. The team is ranked 30th in points allowed, although the defense that about 57 points versus Houston settled down last week in Miami.

This team is a work in progress at this point. Plenty of potential is there, but a spark is needed.

Kravitz:

OK, so I know that as an employee of the Titans, you would prefer not to make a pick, but I will. I’ve got the Titans winning 31-23. I know, I know, the Colts have beaten the Titans 11 times in a row and 16 of the last 17 meetings, but history doesn’t matter here. This is a Tennessee team that is poised to take the division, and the Colts still don’t have Andrew Luck and are missing several pieces of the offensive line. Neither team is strong defensively, so I would expect a lot of points. Again, make mine Tennessee.