“Texas State Of Mind”

Intriguing Game- Week 12 

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans 

Colts: For a while, I thought they were going to run away with the division. They were rolling at 5-2 atop the AFC South. Then, Jacoby Brissett got injured in Pittsburgh, the Colts lose a tough game to the Steelers. A week later, they lose another close game to the Miami Dolphins of all teams. With Jacoby back in the line-up, the Colts offense finally got back into a rhythm on Sunday against the Jaguars. We’re at the point of the year where everyone is nursing an injury. The Colts right now have been decimated by the injury bug. Brissett missed the time with the knee injury, T.Y. Hilton has been out with a calf injury, Parris Campbell has been nursing a hand injury and they just lost Marlon Mack for a few games with a fractured hand. They still play hard which is a testament to their head coach, Frank Reich. From what I’ve seen in years past, I like the way this Colts team is built. For years, they’ve needed to address their offensive line, they did just that. Quenton Nelson has been an absolute godsend for them. As a rookie, he came in and had an immediate impact. A year later, nothing’s changed. When they need to, they can be a very physical football team. Look at how they played against the Kansas City Chiefs back in October. They ran the ball and dominated the line of scrimmage. They have one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Their entire defense is a lot better than its given credit for. If they want to remain in first place, this is a must-win game for them tonight against a division rival.

Texans: Sunday was the worst I’ve seen them look all year long. It was a hyped-up game with it being the first NFL matchup between Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. The Texans didn’t even show up in this one. The biggest struggle they had was with their offensive line. That’s been an issue for them the last two years. Deshaun Watson was hit ten times and sacked a total of seven times by a ferocious pass rush of the Baltimore Ravens. Their offense struggled to get anything going. They failed to reach the red zone and they were 2 for 10 on third-down conversions. To win football games, moving the football on third downs is a must. Before their Week 11 showdown, the Houston Texans had won four of their previous five games by an average margin of 13.5 points per game. This includes wins over the Chiefs in Kansas City with Mahomes, an improved Raiders team and they dominated across the pond when they played the Jaguars in London. With the playoff picture beginning to form itself, the Texans would still make it as a wild card team. If the playoffs were to start today, they’d be the fifth seed. Their defense has struggled this year except when it comes to stopping the run. In the year, the Texans defense has allowed only four rushing touchdowns all season long which is second in the league. It’s a short week for them. If they want to get back into the winners’ column, they’ll have to take down the first-place Colts.

Colts Player to Watch: Justin Houston– At this point in his career, he’s just a situational pass rusher. He never lost his drive to get to the quarterback. He’s still quick, explosive upon the snap and does everything to get the sack. If the Ravens attacked this Texans offensive line, why shouldn’t the Colts? Never hesitate to take a page out of a previous opponents’ book.

Texans Player to Watch: Kenny Stills– He’s stepped up in a big way since Will Fuller has been dealing with injuries. He’s another receiver that’s able to create his own down the field. He’s been another consistent weapon for Watson. If you don’t pay attention to him as a defender in the secondary, he’ll breeze right by you down the field for a big play or the touchdown.

Final Analysis: They played a close game last month in Indianapolis with the Colts coming out on top. This is a big game for both teams. The Colts already own the head to head tiebreaker with Houston. The winner of this will be in the driver’s seat of the division while the loser could fall out of the playoff picture. There’s a strong possibility T.Y. Hilton returns tonight. That’ll give the Colts offense more of the boost they need. The Texans need to get their offensive line situation straightened out. If they let the Colts get a pass rush on them, it’ll be another long night for Watson and the offense. These games are always close and I’m expecting the same tonight.

Prediction: Colts 30 Texans 27

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