Colts at Texans: What to Watch For


The Colts (2-2) are set to face the Texans (1-3) tonight in a game that might one of the saddest of the season for the NFL. This could be bad enough that they cancel all Thursday night games from here on out (fingers crossed).

Who is ready to watch a 40-year old quarterback on three days rest play football? One who attempted 47 passes last week. Oh, and he also was in the hospital for a night with a stomach virus only managing to make it to practice once this week. Still interested?

How about the opposing quarterback who has a passer rating of 65.3? Completing just over 50 percent of his passes and with a 1-1 touchdown to interception ratio.

Still interested?

The Colts will be without Andrew Luck once again as he deals with what must be a very painful shoulder injury. Matt Hasselbeck, who as we mentioned spent most of the past three days with an IV, will get the start for the second straight week. All according to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Here’s what the few interested fans should watch for:

  • All the Injuries. No injury is more important to this game than that of Andrew Luck, but both teams have a number of key injuries to deal with.
    • Colts: Jerrell Freeman has already been ruled out, but he could be joined by three more starters. Vontae Davis (foot), Henry Anderson (foot), and Mike Adams (neck) were all either completely out or limited in some fashion at practice this week.
    • Texans: They’ll be without two starting receivers in Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington. Inside linebacker Akeem Dent and safety Quintin Demps, both starters, are also out.
    • Thursday night football sure is riveting when both teams are forced to play just three days later and players have little time to recover from minor injuries. There is a very valid reason as to why football teams take a week off in between games. The Colts have also had four road Thursday night games in a row, which doesn’t seem right. We’ll be watching some bad football tonight (just like most Thursdays).
  • Blocking. The Colts offensive line showed signs of life last week, but that said more about Jaguars pass rush than anything else. This week is a different challenge as they face a force of nature in J.J. Watt. He should occupy two blockers on every play, and it usually ends poorly when he isn’t double teamed. The good news is that outside of Watt, no one on the Texans has been effective at rushing the passer. Watch the Colts sell out against Watt, and work to get the ball out of the pocket quickly.
  • Bad Quarterbacking. Regardless of who is on the field at QB, they’ve been bad this season. Ryan Mallett has been terrible, Brian Hoyer nearly as bad, Matt Hasselbeck was tolerable, and the biggest surprise has been Luck’s seven interception start. At least Luck can claim injury, and Hasselbeck is 40, there isn’t much of an excuse for the Texans QBs. Even if Luck were to play, fans can’t expect much from him with a weak throwing shoulder. Watch both teams run the ball heavily.
  • Dominating. T.Y. Hilton has done horrible things to the Texans secondary in his first three years in the league. He has 35 receptions for 661 yards and six touchdowns in six games. He still leads the Colts in yardage, but has been kept out of the endzone. If there were ever a chance for him to go off it would be a game against his favorite punching bag. Watch for Hilton to find his stride.
  • Returning Home. Andre Johnson will make his first, and only, visit to his former team tonight. So far, this has been a terrible free agent signing as Johnson has just seven receptions for 51 yards. He simply isn’t getting it done for the Colts and whether it is his inability to get open or the team not using him correctly, Johnson has almost approached liability levels on the field. If he wants to return to form, facing his old team would be the perfect opportunity to do so. I’d like to say he’ll bounce back this week, but honestly there have been no signs pointing to Johnson playing better with the Colts.
  • Low Scores. The Texans are averaging 19.3 points per game, while the Colts are at a meager 18 (down 10 from last season). The Texans aren’t even averaging more points when they’re at home this season (it jumps to 19.5 in Houston). The Colts? Well their offensive woes have been talked to death and it doesn’t look like they’ll get better any time soon. Watch for a “defensive” slugfest that somehow ends up being worse than Sunday’s win over the Jaguars.
  • Records. The Colts could set a record tonight for most consecutive wins against division opponents tonight. This would be their 16th win against the AFC South. Since its creation in 2002, the Colts have won the division nine times and hold a 22-4 all-time record against the Texans.

This is going to be an ugly game. Either the Colts get blown out, or the two teams struggle to move the ball like Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. This game is going to be a great case study on why Thursday night football should be abolished in the NFL.

Next: Colts at Texans: Breaking Down the Numbers