Tannehill Titans

The Tennessee Titans will have to batten down the hatches on offense Sunday when it comes to ball control against the Indianapolis Colts.

The 3-4 Colts have played better than their record shows, thanks in part, to a resurgent quarterback in Carson Wentz and a stingy defense. At the moment, Indianapolis is second in the NFL with a +9 turnover differential and leads all teams in fumbles. The team also ranks in the league's top five in interceptions.

All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard is doing plenty of damage for the Colts in all facets. Leonard leads the team in interceptions with two and has two forced fumbles of his own. The 2018 second-round draft pick is Indy’s tone-setter on defense and containing him will be a major task for the Titans if they wish to sweep their archrivals and maintain comfort at the top of the AFC South.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, a defensive veteran himself, knows how important ball security is when facing a team with such turnover momentum like Indianapolis.

“That is something that they have been known for,” Vrabel said of knocking the ball loose. “They do a fantastic job. Leonard is outstanding at it, and the rest of the unit looks like they are all looking for opportunities.

"Whether they get them or not, they have gotten a lot, leading the league. We understand how critical that is going to be is to be able to take care of the ball but also be able to run with it. You can’t run with two hands on it and roll it over the entire time. We are going to have to try to be aggressive with it but also take care of it.”

The Titans got the best of Indianapolis in September in their first meeting on Sept. 26, though the Colts snagged two interceptions that day from Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill. The Titans fumbled once that game as well.

Tennesse knows it’ll have to be careful not to duplicate those results when the team heads up to Indianapolis on Sunday.

“They are going after it,” Tannehill said of the Colts’ defense. “You see them hammering at the football almost every rushing play there is somebody coming in hammering at the football. [Darius Leonard] especially does a really good job. He is accurate with it and causes a lot of fumbles due to the hammer. That and they are making plays on the backend as well. We have to be smart, be secure with the football, and take care of it.”

After dropping the first three games of the season, the Colts have won three of the last four and seem to be finding more consistency with Wentz leading the offense. It’s the Indy defense, though, that will present Tennessee with its biggest challenge come Sunday.

“They are playing really good ball right now,” Tannehill said. “You look at their last four games, they are playing really good ball. Defensively, they have always been sound. They are not going to give you anything; they are going to play their game and play really sound football. The turnovers have been huge for them so that is going to be a point of emphasis for us is to be smart with the football and take care of it and take advantage of the opportunities we do get.

“They don’t give you anything so you have to earn it, but when you do get plays you can make against a good defense, you have to take advantage of it.”