The Houston Texans are in the middle of a 5 game losing streak, are coming off a game in which the lost ILB Brian Cushing, and are starting a 2nd year undrafted QB for the second straight week. Still as a team they know if they can get a win this week at home against a divisional rival they’ll still have a chance at winning the AFC South for the third consecutive year. Even with a record of 2-5 if the Texans could get a win this week and drop the Colts to 6-3 with a loss in the division. Following this game the Texans play the Cardinals, Raiders, and Jags. This could be their chance to make a run and get back into race for the AFC South crown and a playoff spot.
Keys to the offense:
Case Keenum: With Matt Schaub now healthy enough to play the Texans have decided to stick with the 2nd year QB as their starter. Keenum threw for nearly 300 yards and a TD in his last outing against a stingy Chiefs defense. If Keenum can play another turnover free game the Texans should have a good chance at winning a tough home game against the Colts this week. The key will be keeping Keenum clean in the pocket against Robert Mathis and a Colts defense that’s been pretty good at putting pressure opposing QB’s.
RB play: Last time the Texans played they ended their game without a healthy RB. Both Arian Foster and Ben Tate were hurt during the game and they were down to using FB Greg Jones. Foster has been listed as a game time decision, and though Tate plans to play he’ll be nursing broken ribs. The Texans signed a couple players they had through the preseason in Deji Karim and Dennis Johnson this past week. Though they both might be somewhat familiar with the Texans playbook they’ll be limited in action this week for sure. The Texans are going to need to be able to run the ball effectively to keep the Colts defense guessing, and help keep Keenum upright in the pocket.
Keys on defense:
Getting after Andrew Luck: If the Texans aren’t able to put pressure on Andrew Luck on Sunday it’s going to be a long day for the defense. Playing Colts team without injured veteran WR Reggie Wayne the Texans will be looking to bring extra pressure and force Luck into some bad passes. Luck hasn’t been sacked more than twice in a game since week 2, the Texans will be looking to get to Luck this week and attempt to change that. Tied for the lead with 4.5 sacks for the Texans are OLB Whitney Mercilus and DE JJ Watt, and both should be disruptive this week against the Colts.
Stopping the run: Brian Cushing is out for the year, and the Texans will be looking for solid games from both Joe Mays and Daryl Sharpton this week. The Texans waived veteran LB Tim Dobbins last week and now have just Mays, Sharpton, and rookie Justin Tuggle playing ILB. With the injury to Reggie Wayne it’ll be big to limit the Colts on the ground and force them to use those WR’s to make plays. The Texans have yet to allow a 100 yard rusher this season and will be looking to keep that streak alive facing RB Trent Richardson and this Colts rushing attack.