The expectations of the Texans and Colts were certainly on opposite ends of the spectrum in the offseason. After the Colts were the worst team in the NFL a season ago, they have been brought to life by the very talented rookie out of Stanford, Andrew Luck. It isn’t where pundits expected them to be, and it definitely isn’t where I thought they would be at this point. While I knew Luck is beyond his years, I believed it would have taken a year to gel with his new team. Foot in mouth, because the Colts have been phenomenal and are currently looking at a playoff berth. The Colts have received their motivation from head coach Chuck Pagano who is currently battling leukemia. They have gone 7-1 in their last eight games since coming to terms with the news of Pagano. At 9-4 and 2nd in the AFC South, the Colts are looking to make some noise in the playoffs if they manage to finish the season strong. Conversely, the Texans have a dirty taste in their mouth after getting humiliated on MNF against the New England Patriots. The Texans 42-14 loss was only their second loss on the year, but it has people proclaiming that the 11-2 is a phony record.
The Texans utilize a complete, all around effort to be a productive squad. They are good on offense and good on defense. One or the other usually shows up every week, and that’s usually all they need. Last week against the Patriots was a different story, however. The Patriots throttled the defense for 42 points, and the offense looked out of synch as well. New England was most certainly the best team the Texans have faced all season, and it wasn’t a showing they wanted to have against one of the NFL’s elite teams. They will be back at home against the surging Colts, with a chance for the offense and defense to bounce back in a big way. The offense is centered around running back Arian Foster. When Foster is chewing up yardage, they are tough to beat. However, when the run game is stymied, the passing game and play fakes are pretty useless. The offense is still 6th in the league, averaging 28.3 points a game, even after dropping only 14 points last week. The running game under Arian Foster leads the way with 139.2 points on the ground a game for 8th in the NFL. The passing game isn’t far behind in 10th.
The offense has some playmakers on that side of the ball, but the defense has been winning games for them. Led by defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans have completely turned it around from just a few seasons ago when they were the leagues worst. However, after the 42 point beat down they slipped significantly in the rankings, all the way back to 20th. Looking closer, though, it isn’t just the drubbing at the hands of the Patriots that moved them back to 20th. In the 3 of the last 4 games the Texans have given up over 30 points, one being against the lowly Jaguars. Part of the problem comes down to injuries. Most notably, the hobbling cornerback, Jonathan Joseph. Joseph participated in the Patriots game, but was ineffective to say the least. Joseph has been limited in practice this week, so it appears he will be playing with a limp against the Colts as well.
The Colts have thrived off of Andrew Luck this season, passing for 3792 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has made rookie mistakes this season, evident from the 18 interceptions he has tossed, nine in his last four games. However, just like his rookie counterpart, RG3, the guy finds ways to find close games. The offense is 7th in the NFL, just a spot behind the Texans. The defense is adequate, they don’t stick out or anything, but they still are a respectable unit, 11th in the NFL with regards to yardage allowed. They do, however, give up 25.3 points a game.
Colts vs. Texans Spread and Betting Odds:
Indianapolis Colts +10 (-105)
@ Houston Texans -10 (-115)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Colts vs. Texans Pick:
The Texans got absolutely humiliated in front of a national television audience and look to bounce back in front of their fans at home. They welcome a good, but surprising Colts team to Reliant Stadium led by rookie phenom Andrew Luck. I expect the Texans to come out with their foot to the pedal without letting up. After getting embarrassed, it’s time for them to prove that they aren’t a fluky team. After getting handled by the Packers in front of a national audience on SNF, the Texans responded the next week with a 43-13 win over Ravens. I expect a little of the same here, with the offense looking sharp as ever. The Colts do have a roster that can sneak up and put up some points, however. So, to avoid the chance of a backdoor cover I’ll take the over 48. In any case I still have a lean on the Texans -10, I could see them putting up nearly 40 points.
PICK = OVER 48