This Thursday night game was one that looked good at the timeas the Houston Texans go into Indianapolis to take on the Colts. With the Texans being a team on the rise and many expecting a decline for the Colts, this looked like a game that would determine the outcome of the division. Now the Texans are 10-4 and have already clinched the division while the Colts are 1-13 and are trying to lockdown a win in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
One thing that can be said about the Texans is that they have done a great job battling through injuries to key players throughout the season. After quarterback Matt Schaub’s season was over with a foot injury, backup Matt Leinart’s season was over midway through his first start with a broken collarbone. Rookie T.J. Yates has filled in admirably and that is with his top option Andre Johnson being out the past few weeks with hamstring injuries. This isn’t only on the offensive side of the ball as Mario Williams tore a pectoral muscle that ended his season and young players have stepped in to take his place. Most notably Connor Barwin who has recorded 10.5 sacks and rookies J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed who have combined for another 10.5 sacks.
The Colts have been without superstar quarterback Peyton Manning all year due his recovery from neck surgery and it is still unknown if he will play another game in a Colts uniform. However, the teams recent struggles drafting in recent years have been exposed as the team hasn’t had many young players step up and make an impact. Even older players such as Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis who are regarded as two of the best pass rushers in the league have struggled as they have combined for only 14 sacks. This is something that should worry the Colts for a few reasons. 14 sacks is usually a good season for a player such as Freeney or Mathis alone and that number is quite low considering the inflated sack totals due to the rules benefiting the passing game.
These teams are very familiar with one another and the Colts players proved last week they are still playing for pride, so it could be close for a while. However, the Texans should use be running the ball early and often with both Arian Foster and Ben Tate which could prove a tough task for a struggling Colts run defense. My prediction is Texans 24 Colts (+6.5) 17.