Back To The Playoffs



COLTS: It’s been such a wild year for them. Let’s take it all the way back to February 2018. After deciding to part ways with Chuck Pagano, the Indianapolis Colts were looking for their new head coach. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was hired by the franchise to be their next head coach. He then would withdraw himself from the job to return to the Patriots. The franchise decided to hire Frank Reich as their head coach. As many first-year head coaches, his team struggled and after their first six games of the season, the Colts were 1-5 and looked to be headed towards another losing season. Around mid-October, they became one of the hottest teams in the league and in their final ten games of the season, they went 9-1. I love the build of this team. The offensive line is much improved, the defense has played better and with Andrew Luck under center, the Colts are a completely different ball team. What a difference coaching makes because under Pagano, they got down in games early and always found themselves coming back. Now, they can start early and keep their foot on the gas pedal along with finishing games. They just don’t depend on Andrew Luck to win games for them. They can run the football, control the clock and they also have other weapons outside of T.Y. Hilton. This is by far one of the more improved teams in the NFL. Coaching can make the difference, and, in this situation, it truly has. I just see a team that has the confidence to compete with anyone. To begin their postseason, they will have to face a team they see twice a year in their division, the Houston Texans.

TEXANS: I’ll admit after the 0-3 start, I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. Let’s also be honest with ourselves here and ask who really believes in a team after losing their first three out the gates? After the slow beginning, the Houston Texans went on a roll and became one of the hottest teams in the league winning nine games in a row. Deshaun Watson didn’t look great coming out to begin the year as he was returning from an ACL tear. When you don’t practice much during camp and don’t see much action in the preseason, your first five games or so during the regular season are considered your “preseason”. It took a while for him to find his rhythm, but when he did, he picked up where he left off last season. They were making believers out of many during the streak. Some even thought the Texans were a dark-horse Super Bowl contender and they could get a bye in the playoffs. As good as the team has been, there have been a few things that have concerned me with them. The first is their offensive line and I noticed issues there when they played the Jets because Watson was running for his life and the offensive line was allowing the Jets to remain in that game. In the next game against the Eagles with an opportunity to clinch the division and a possible first-round bye, they failed to show up on the big stage. It was good to see them end the season on a high note by beating Jacksonville but then again, who hasn’t beat the Jaguars? What else is there to say about Deandre Hopkins? I really don’t think this man drops anything and I’ve seen him make some wild catches this year. It’s been fun to see this defense get back to playing at a high level with J.J. Watt back on the field. He’s a superstar and the league is good when he’s healthy and on the field dominating. To kick off the playoffs, they will host the Colts on Saturday afternoon.

COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: Chester Rogers– I really like how he’s developed his game this year. With Hilton of course commanding double teams and such, he’s open quite a bit and sees a lot of single coverage. He’s able to use his quickness to sneak behind coverages and he’s got the football in his hands.

TEXANS PLAYER TO WATCH: Lamar Miller– He’s expected to be fully healthy after dealing with an ankle injury. His team needs him at his best. He has an explosive playmaking ability, just watch his 97-yard run against the Titans back on a Monday night in November. That’s the type of play that forces opposing defenses to respect what he’s able to do.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Here we are for some postseason football. The two regular season showdowns with these two were entertaining. When they met in week four, that was the game that got the Texans winning streak going. Ten weeks later in week 14, the Colts get their revenge against them and snap the Texans winning streak. Almost three weeks later, they meet in a game with some more meaning. This is a much-improved defensive front that the Colts have. The Texans offensive line must play better and keep Watson protected. The Colts are here because of consistent play all around, keep it that way. The Texans have an opportunistic defense that thrives on the takeaway.