Colts vs. Texans: Game Preview


When the Texans and the Colts square off on Sunday afternoon, Houston will be looking to snap an 0-12 streak playing at Indianapolis. That’s right, the Texans franchise has never won at Indianapolis since their inaugural season in 2002. Meanwhile, the Colts (9-4) will look to clinch the AFC South by defeating the Texans (7-6) and win their 9th AFC South Championship title.

Dec. 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) grabs the facemask of Houston Texan running back Arian Foster (23) during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans feature 10-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick is just two weeks removed from a 6 touchdown performance against the Tennessee Titans; however, he had 0 touchdowns in the Texans’ win last weekend versus the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Of course, their offense is most known for featuring All-Pro running back Arian Foster, who has 204 carries for 1,028 yards (5.0 ypc) and 8 touchdowns on the season. In 7 career games vs. Indy, Arian Foster has 134 carries for 861 rush yds (6.43 ypc) & 8 TD’s. Fortunately, he’s only 2-5 W-L against the Colts.

While Andre Johnson is the bigger name, it’s been 2nd-year DeAndre Hopkins that’s been the more productive of the two Texans’ wideouts. Hopkins has 64 receptions for 1,090 yards and 6 touchdowns. His veteran mentor, the aforementioned Andre Johnson, has 69 receptions for 737 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. He is listed as “questionable” and may not play tomorrow, having not passed the league’s concussion protocol. Regardless, Hopkins is the wideout to watch for the Colts’ secondary.

Dec 16, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) and tight end Coby Fleener (80) double team Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Texans won 29-17. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Defensively for the Texans, it starts and ends with J.J. Watt. The runaway favorite for Defensive Player of the Year and potential MVP Candidate has simply been dominant for Houston’s defensive line all season. He has 58 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles, including an 80-yard interception for a touchdown.

When these two teams last met, J.J. Watt almost single-handedly stole the game from the Colts’ clutches, so they must make a considerable effort to double-team him and limit his effectiveness. It’s a Colts offensive line that is a bit banged up and will reportedly be starting Lance Louis at right guard.

Dec 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) celebrates with quarterback Andrew Luck (12) after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans in the second half during the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts will simply look to maintain the status quo against the AFC South, as they have not lost a divisional game since the 2012 regular season. QB Andrew Luck leads the league in both passing yards at 4,305 and touchdowns with 36. He’ll likely be looking to connect with T.Y. Hilton often, who in 5 career games against the Texans, has 31 receptions for 611 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.

With both Johnson and Hopkins, the Colts cornerbacks will have their hands full defensively, but should get a boost with Vontae Davis returning after he missed last weekend’s game with a concussion.

The defense will also have to find ways to contain Arian Foster, who as mentioned, always seems to play well against Indianapolis. It can’t fall on the shoulders of one or two Colts’ players, it has to be a team effort in terms of gang-tackling and discipline.

At home, the Colts appear to be in the driver’s seat as far as a victory is concerned. However, they’ll have to keep both J.J. Watt and Arian Foster in-check, who can each take over a game if allowed to.