By: Nate McMullen
Moneyline: IND +173, HOU -198
Spread: IND +3.5 (-108), HOU -3.5 (-108)
O/U: 45.5 (O -115, U -105)
Kickoff: 8:20 PM ET, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
The Colts got back on track in a big way last week, routing the Jaguars 33-13. The AFC South looks wide open, but Indy needs a win here to stay in the conversation.
Although he’s been brilliant, Jacoby Brissett didn’t play a huge role in last week’s win. He completed 15 passes for 148 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The real magic happened on the ground, where Jonathan Williams (116 yards) and Marlon Mack (109, touchdown) had their way with Jacksonville’s defense. Rushing for 225 yards will win you more than a few football games, so Indianapolis will look to continue their running success against an unspectacular Texans defense.
Speaking of defense, the Colts have got a good one. Led by Justin Houston and his 8.0 sacks, they allow only 325.6 yards per game, 11th in the league. They’re also ninth best against the run in terms of yardage. Unfortunately for Indy, though, the defense isn’t game-changing: their 12 takeaways are tied for 27th in the league. They’ll need to put that success against the run to good use with Deshaun Watson looming.
Ouch, that one hurt. Deshaun Watson lost the battle of versatile young quarterbacks to Lamar Jackson on Sunday in a resounding 41-7 blowout. Fortunately, if their pride is lost, their playoff hopes aren’t. Houston needs a win against their division rival here.
Anybody else wondering what happened with Deshaun Watson on Sunday? A guy who’s supposed to be one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the game collected only 169 yards in the air and 12 on the ground in a pathetic offensive showing for the Texans. Baltimore’s defense is solid, but by no means should they have dominated Watson like they did. The running backs weren’t bad, as both Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson averaged over 6.5 yards per carry. Houston just needs to forget this one and look ahead.
The defense allowed 41 points on Sunday, but can you blame them? Baltimore’s offense is unstoppable. Still, Houston’s defense made the first half interesting until they got blown up in the second. They allow 102 rushing yards per game, so stopping Indy’s dynamic backfield duo might be a challenge. It’s also key to Houston winning this game.
Analysis and Prediction:
Simply put, this is a big game. Winner takes top spot in the AFC South; loser falls into wild card purgatory. Something tells me last week’s embarrassment isn’t sitting well with Watson, so expect the Texans’ offense to come out firing. The Texans think they’re the dominant team in the division and they’re going to prove it tonight. Take Houston and the under in this Thursday night bash.