The Houston Texans (11-2) were not able to overcome their underdog status last week, falling in a fairly horrible fashion to the New England Patriots. While the game certainly did not go the way they would have wanted, do not read too much into the defeat.
The Texans would have preferred winning but knew that a loss to the Patriots in this situation had little effect. Meanwhile the chances of seeing them again in the post-season were high. As a result, they played a fairly straightforward game, adding few wrinkles or surprises into their play-calling.
They’ll save some of their potent stuff for the possible second show-down with New England. But the loss does throw more weight on this week’s matchup against AFC South division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts (9-4). The Colts are certainly one of the better teams to have secured a first-overall pick. Perennial contenders, bad coaching and terrible quarterback play severely let them down last year. But the addition of rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck (selected with that first-overall pick) and improved coaching from interim-head coach, Bruce Arians has returned them to contender status. Not quite at the level of Manning teams from the previous era, the Luck-led Colts are still dangerous.
Like most difficult but not dangerous teams, the Colts have to keep the game close and avoid penalties as well as turnovers to win. Unlike most teams in a similar situation, the Colts will do so through the arm of Andrew Luck as opposed to on the ground.
The lack of a real running game is a serious problem for the Colts when they come to Houston. Carries are largely split between rookie, Vick Ballard and former first-round bust, Donald Brown (he of 'God-damnit Donald' fame). But neither will cause the Texans’ defence seriously sleepless nights. Houston will look to shut down Luck first and foremost. The secondary is still banged up and has more leaks than a Welsh farmers’ market. But with crowd noise disrupting the snap count, a whole host of things will have to fall into place for the Colts to come away with a win.
Houston is currently favoured by 8-9 points. The game will be shown on CBS at 1PM EST. Texas, Indiana and surrounds as well as San Francisco will get the game on local TV. Gamepass and streaming sites will have to do for viewers in other locations.