At long last, the NFL’s regular season is kicking off across America. As the highlight of the early schedule on Sunday, the Houston Texans play host to the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1PM ET. Houston is looking to get off to a quick start by exorcising their demons against the Colts, who have beaten the Texans routinely since their arrival in the league, going 15-1 against them since Houston’s inaugural season.
The Colts were one win away from taking it all last year. After building a 10-0 lead in the first quarter of the Super Bowl, they then watched Drew Brees and the Saints storm back and eventually hoist the Lombardi trophy. Anything short of a Super Bowl triumph this year will be considered a complete failure. The focal point of the offense will once again be Peyton Manning throwing to his capable stable of receivers. Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne is back for another season and last year’s breakout players Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon also return. A healthy Anthony Gonzalez will be added to the slot and the ever dangerous Dallas Clark will play at tight end. In two matchups against Houston last year, Manning hit on 61 of 86 passes for 534 yards. He was, however, intercepted twice in each game.
Hopes are very high in Houston this year that the Texans can make their first playoff appearance. Their history against the Colts has been filled with heartache and domination. Houston can go punch for punch with anyone in the league as they too feature a prolific offense. Matt Schaub steers the ship from the quarterback position, after a breakout 2009 campaign that saw him pass for over 4,000 yards and assert himself among the upper tier of NFL quarterbacks. His top target is WR Andre Johnson, who is widely considered the best receiver in the NFL, and caught 15 balls in two matchups with Indianapolis last year but failed to find the end zone. Jacoby Jones will line up as the second wideout for Houston and the steady Owen Daniels returns to man the tight end position. The biggest question mark on offense will be the running game, which will feature Arian Foster to replace Steve Slaton, who started last year, but fumbled 7 times in their opening 11 games. The Texans will be without reigning defensive rookie of the year Brian Cushing, who is serving a 4 game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance in the offseason.
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Colts vs Texans Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Indianapolis Colts -2.0
@ Houston Texans +2.0
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Colts vs Texans Prediction for Week One Betting:
Game Total Prediction (Top Play): The total in this game is set fairly high at 47 points, but two of the best offenses in the league are doing battle. Both teams feature vaunted passing attacks and neither defense is reminding anyone of the 1985 Bears. The loss of Brian Cushing hurts the Texans defense even more and may open up a few holes in the running game for Joseph Addai and Donald Brown of the Colts. Look for a shootout in the opener that will continue the trend of 11 of 16 games going over in the two teams’ history. Top Play Prediction: Over 47 points
Spread Prediction: The Colts have absolutely owned the Texans since they came into the league 8 years ago. Houston is almost treating this game like their Super Bowl but have to get past the mental block of playing Manning and the Colts. I expect a close game but ultimately I’ll take Manning who has had all offseason to prepare for this matchup, and more importantly, to have the bitter taste of the Super Bowl defeat in his mouth. Prediction: Colts -2.0