6 days after the Houston Texans were blown out on the road against the New England Patriots they’ll look to rebound against a divisional foe that is many ways familiar, as well as unfamiliar. Rookie QB Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are 9-4 and standing in the way of the Texans 2nd straight AFC South Title and have their own playoff dreams. If the Texans are going to beat the Colts and claim the division title on Sunday they’ll have to play better than they did last week in Foxborough. Where offense just couldn’t get put the ball in the end zone, and the defense couldn’t get pressure on Tom Brady most of the game.
On offense it’s simple if your Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, get the ball moving on the ground against a team the gives up 121 yards per game. Last week it was hard for the Texans to get the play action pass going because they were playing from behind basically all game, and because of the injury to the teams 2nd TE Garrett Graham. Graham was out with a concussion and will be playing this week against the Colts. This should give the Texans more flexibility offensively. Not being able to go to 3 TE sets seemed to slow an offense that really hadn’t struggled the way they did against the Patriots all year. The Texans average 139 rushing yards a game and RB Arian Foster is due for a big game. Fellow RB Ben Tate looked really good last week in the loss to New England gaining 46 yards on only 8 carries. Expect him to see a lot more time as I’m sure the emphasis of the game will be to play Texans football. Which is running the ball effectively, setting up Matt Schaub and the rest of the offense easier opportunities off of play action passes, and last but certainly not least play defense. In the last 4 meetings between the 2 teams the Colts have allowed a 100 yard rusher. Ben Tate once last season and Arian Foster the other 3, with Foster going for 231 yards rushing in 1 of those games. Texans QB Matt Schaub will look to be more careful with the ball after throwing an interception in the end zone against the Patriots and costing the Texans at least 1 TD. Be looking for the Texans to try to get Andre Johnson the ball early and often this week. The 10 year veteran is only 12 catches away from becoming the 2nd fastest player to 800 catches in his career. Johnson was very vocal after the loss to the Patriots and has been about the team getting over it and performing this week. “I have no doubt on how we will respond on Sunday. Period,” is what Johnson said about it in the locker room after practice on Thursday.
The Texans defense will have a different task on their hands this week as they get ready for sizzling hot rookie QB Andrew Luck. Though his stats aren’t in the realm of Robert Griffin III in terms of QB Rating or completion percentage but Luck gets his team to wins. Texans DE Antonio Smith had this to say about Luck: “he ain’t your stereotypical quarterback. He runs & makes blocks. … He’s putting himself on the line.” Luck does do all this stuff because he does whatever it takes to get wins. The Colts offense revolves around Luck and him throwing the ball most of the time and a secondary that has struggled against passing offenses all year will have something to prove against the Colts. WR Reggie Wayne comes into the game ranked 3rd in the league in receiving yards, will get plenty of attention this week against the Texans defense. I’d think defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will make Luck and the Colts use other players to beat them. Rookie OLB Whitney Mercilus, OLB Connor Barwin, and DE Antonio Smith of the Texans defense will also be looking to put a lot of pressure on Luck this week after not really disturbing Brady in the pocket all game last week. Mercilus was able to get to Brady for the only sack the Houston Texans would have all game. JJ Watt will be looking to make a impact after not getting a sack, deflected pass, or tackle for loss in the game. Luck has been under constant pressure all season while in the pocket. The Texans will hope to be able to get after Luck with only 3 or 4 man pressures and drop 7 to help contain Luck and the speedy young receivers at his disposal. No doubt about it the, Texans defense will be looking to make a statement after a disappointing showing against 1 of the premiere offenses in football last week.