NFL THURS NITE PREVIEW: COLTS @ TEXANS (11-21)!

CAN THE TEXANS FINALLY BEAT A COLTS TEAM THAT HAS OWNED THEM FOR PAST 3 YEARS!

VEGAS ODDS: HOUSTON TEXANS (-3 1/2) vs. INDY COLTS ~  TOTAL: (46 or 46 1/2)

2019 FIRST MEETING:  COLTS WON 30-23

NOTE: Colts have won 5 of past 6, including both games last season: one regular season and one in 2018 Playoffs (both played in Houston)!

Colts:

  • Total offense — 21st (343.8 ypg)
  • Scoring — 16th (22.7 ppg)
  • Passing offense — 14th (239.5 ypg)
  • Sacks allowed — Tied-9th (20)
  • Running offense — 4th (141.1 ypg)
  • Third down offense — 12th (43%)
  • Red zone offense — 8th (63.2%)
  • Total defense — 11th (325.6 ypg)
  • Scoring defense — 15th (20.6 ppg)
  • Passing defense — 11th (228.8 ypg)
  • Sacks — Tied-15th (25)
  • Running defense — 9th (96.8 ypg)
  • Third down defense — 18th (39%)
  • Red zone defense — 10th (51.7%)
  • Time of possession — 7th (31:24)
  • Turnover differential — 24th (-3)

Texans:

  • Total offense — 7th (380.2 ypg)
  • Scoring — 10th (24.5 ppg)
  • Passing offense — 28th (202.7 ypg)
  • Sacks allowed — Tied-22nd (32)
  • Running offense — 5th (140.7 ypg)
  • Third down offense — 7th (45%)
  • Red zone offense — 6th (65.7%)
  • Total defense — 25th (374.4 ypg)
  • Scoring defense — 19th (23.2 ppg)
  • Passing defense — 29th (272.4 ypg)
  • Sacks — Tied-26th (22)
  • Running defense — 13th (102.0 ypg)
  • Third down defense — 28th (46%)
  • Red zone defense — 30th (65.5%)
  • Time of possession — 11th (30:44)
  • Turnover differential — 14th (+1)

Tonight we have a gigantic match up in the AFC South as the Texans may be tied right now with the Colts (both 6-4), but the Colts already have one win this year and a second one doesn’t give them really just a one game lead, but a two game lead, as they win the Division if they win a second meeting tonight and end up even tied up season’s end. Moreso, the Colts enter this game on a high note as they won big last week over the Jaguars and the Texans enter off possibly their worst loss the past few years last week getting manhandled in every way vs. the Ravens. Short weeks aren’t good for either team, but they are always a little tougher on the visiting team. 

Much of tonight’s most important factors is the INJURY LIST of so many key players. The biggest “play or miss” player for tonight’s game is Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, who has missed his last 3 games. In his career vs. the Texans, he has had many gigantic games (82 catches/1,519/10 TD’s). He is a game time call but most feel he “will play” tonight. There are numerous other key injuries to both sides, as Colts WR Campbell, CB Taylor, and Safety Willis are all OUT. But the biggest loss to the Colts is their leading rusher RB M. Mack (862 yards rushing so far). For the Texans they will be without Safety Adams, CB L. Johnson, Safety J. Reid. There will be many game time calls: Colts – TE Ebron (very unlikely to play), CB Rock Ya-Sin.  For the Texans WR Fuller (hamstring), CB Roby (hamstring), Safety Gibson all will be game time calls. I will add as we saw Monday night with Chiefs WR Hill (came in with bad hammy), these injuries are very touchy and are one play away from their game ending in sad fashion.

The Texans problems with protecting QB Watson are tonight’s biggest question mark as last week the Ravens Defense just got to Watson early and often. Now he faces a Colts Defense that has really had their way the past 4 meetings together as the Colts have sacked Watson 18x and hit him another 33x. Last week was a rare time I saw on tape a QB (Watson) who almost every play was under pressure.  The OL problems could turn into why the Texans lost tonight and miss Playoffs. Watson has been sacked 7 or more times in just the past 2 seasons. He will surely get blitzed and have a massive rush put on him, even if it’s to get more hits on his battered body that has gotten only a few days rest. The Colts DE J. Houston has a sack in 6 straight games. 

The one key possible return for tonight’s game is Colts CB Desir. I’ve watched the past 3 game tapes of these 2 and he has been very solid vs. Texans top WR D. Hopkins (2nd most catches this year and a guy who has made 1st downs on 63% of his catches). This would be to me the most important addition to the Colts, even above getting stud WR Hilton back. He’s a big piece to the Defense, one that in it’s last 6 games has only allowed (17) points per game, and (73) rushing yards. The Colts “D” has also not allowed a 100 yard rusher in 28 straight games. 

Watson will be coming in off back to back home games with 3 TD passes thrown in each. He must get rid of the ball quicker, taking less hits and putting Offense in long yardage situations after his numerous sacks. The Texans have always played better at Home and this year the Defense has allowed 12, 10, 3 and 32 (wild shootout vs. Falcons where Texans Offense score fast and often getting 53 points). 

The Colts in 4 games this season on the Road have gone (2-2). All four games have been very close games, with the difference of points being 6, 2, 6 and 4 points. Colts QB J. Brissett passed for 326 yards in the earlier win (30-23) this season so he clearly comes into this game capable of a big passing game again. With his stud RB Mack out, I gotta guess he ends up passing ball 30-35x at least. 

FINAL KICK:

These two teams are so alike. Both have some really good play makers and both for most part play a lot of closer games. This game will be more like a Playoff type game than maybe any other game on this week’s overall card in the NFL. I’d fully expect a close game throughout and these games are usually won or lost on turnovers. One trend that has played out heavily this season to one side is the Totals have gone “OVER” 22 times and only went “UNDER” 12 times in Prime Time TV games this year. 

Enjoy the game and always be careful when betting any game with so many “KEY” injuries are in play. This has to be one of the most key “game time calls” by currently injured players and the line could change drastically as we get to that final half hour before the game. If possible, I’d wait til the last second you can before you make a bet as by 1/2 hour prior you should know who is “IN” and who is “OUT”. If you make a bet, be best prepared and tonight is one of the biggest games I’ve seen all year where the “game time” calls could completely make a huge difference in a games final outcome.

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