“Something In Common”

AFC Game Of The Week

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

Texans: Two wins in a row for them after a bad loss against the Carolina Panthers. Deshaun Watson is extremely locked in right now. He’s taking care of the football, which is most important, he’s confident in his passes when it leaves his arm and the biggest takeaway for me is how he’s spreading the football around to the open receiver. Everybody knows this offense is built around Deandre Hopkins who happens to be the best wide receiver in the NFL right now, but other guys are stepping up. Look at the tear Will Fuller has been on. In their win against Atlanta, he recorded 217 yards receiving as the Texans put up 53 points. Last week was a huge win for them on the road at Arrowhead against the Kansas City Chiefs. The offense did their part, but the defense was what caught my eye. They did everything you need to do to limit Patrick Mahomes which is keep him in the pocket, play man to man on the outside in the secondary and bring a consistent amount of pressure up the middle to stuff him and they did everything I just listed. Their offense has scored a combined 84 points in their last two games. Deshaun himself has thrown for 706 yards with six touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last two contests. The only thing I need to see is if he can continue his stellar play moving forward. To keep their winning streak alive, the Texans will travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts for the first time since the Wild Card matchup in January.

Colts: As expected, they were penciled in as the favorites to win the AFC South after a year where they exceeded expectations with a first-year head coach. Then, Andrew Luck shocked the world and announced his unexpected retirement at the age of 29 which came after putting together the best year of his career. After he announced that he was done, many pulled away from the Indianapolis Colts and had them slated to finish in last place in the AFC South. Here they are at 3-2 and in second place in the division. Prior to their bye week, they had a showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs on a Sunday night in week five. Of course, the Chiefs were the favorite heading into the game as you’d expect. The Colts were seeking revenge from the divisional round of the playoffs last year when Kansas City eliminated them, and they got it! In a league where the game is so pass-happy, it was a beautiful thing to see the Colts set the tone in their favor by dominating the line of scrimmage and pounding the football with the running game. They continued to feed Marlon Mack the football and each time he had it in his hands, something happened. For years, the Colts biggest downfall was their offensive line. Now, they have one of the best in the league. As a defense, I was also impressed with how they were able to keep Mahomes contained in that pocket, jammed his receivers at the line and made the Chiefs work to get their yards. It should also be mentioned that their defense held this Chiefs prolific offense to 13 points. The bye week is over which means it’s time to get back to football.

Texans Player to Watch: D.J. Reader– The big man in the middle! He’s truly a force in the middle of that Texans defensive line but here’s the thing: He isn’t your typical defensive tackle. Most guys that play inside are known to clog the middle and stop the run. That’s not Reader. If the running back is bouncing outside, he can get out in that open space and bring him down. I’ve also seen him bring the quarterback while he moved his pocket or scrambled to get his yards.

Colts Player to Watch: Jabaal Sheard– He’s been a consistent piece in this Colts defensive front. The one-time Patriot has provided leadership. I like how disruptive he is for them. He gets his hands up to knock passes down, he sheds blockers, he gets into the backfield to either stop the run or rush the passer. With the way the Texans offense has played the last two games with running the ball and Watson having all day to throw, he’ll have his hands full to limit both Carlos Hyde and Watson.

Final Analysis: These battles between them are always close it seems and this even goes back to the Peyton days. Both these teams are coming off wins against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. The Colts are expected to get a boost defensively with the return of Darius Leonard. I think the Colts defense has done well without their best defensive player, but it won’t hurt to have him back. For the Colts, they can’t let Watson sit back in that pocket. I’m flushing him to his left side and making him throw on the run. The Colts secondary has also been up and down at times. But if they can limit all those Kansas City weapons, why can’t they do the same to the Texans? The Texans offensive line needs to be on their a-game in this one.

Prediction: Colts 27 Texans 24


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