Indianapolis Colts to be without 3 defensive starters vs. Tennessee Titans

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts will be shorthanded defensively when they play the Tennessee Titans in a key AFC South matchup on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Coach Frank Reich said defensive linemen DeForest Buckner and Denico Autry and linebacker Bobby Okereke have been ruled out for the game.

Buckner and Autry are on the reserve/COVID-19 list and Okereke is dealing with an ankle injury. Sunday will be the second straight game that Autry has missed due to being on the COVID list. Buckner was placed on the list on Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19, a source confirmed.

A player who tests positive for COVID-19 can't return to the team until at least 10 days after the start of symptoms, plus at least 24 hours after symptoms have passed, according to league rules.

Without Buckner, Autry and Okereke, the Colts will be missing a combined 119 tackles, 8.5 sacks and an interception from their No. 2-ranked defense against the Titans.

The Colts and Titans have identical 7-3 records, but Indianapolis would own the tiebreaker by virtue of a season sweep with a victory on Sunday. Now the Colts have to try to figure out a way to slow down Titans running back Derrick Henry, who is the only running back to rush for at least 100 yards against the Colts in the past two seasons.

Henry has surpassed the 100-yard mark in each of the past two meetings against Indianapolis.

Zaire Franklin will likely get an increase in snaps at linebacker in Okereke's absence, and Tyquan Lewis and Grover Stewart will get more playing time on the defensive line.

"It's next man up," linebacker Darius Leonard said. "It's not one guy. It's 11 guys."