The Colts will likely be without most of its playmakers tomorrow night in Houston. But they can still win the game. Here’s how.
Frank Reich has instilled the “next man up” mentality into his team. No one complains or is unprepared to go in as a backup. The coaching staff has done a great job of making sure that the backups are ready to go in if needed. They will be needed on Thursday.
There’s a solid chance they will be without T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, Devin Funchess, and Marlon Mack. The only one who has a realistic shot of playing is Hilton, and he would be doing so on no practice time. The Colts will have to find a way to win without their top playmakers.
But they can do that. There is a formula that they can follow to victory even without all of those great players. It starts at the top with Reich’s play calling. He needs to put Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers in positions to succeed and get them out in space easily.
Secondly, they need to stick to the running game. We saw how effective that was last week, with the Colts running for 264 yards in their win against the Jaguars. Jonathan Williams will likely be a big part of the running attack. They know they can run it against Houston too, as they have done it before.
Mostly, this game will have to be about defense. The defense is going to have to lead the way. If they can stop Deshaun Watson and keep him from tearing up the secondary, they have an excellent shot to win. Forcing turnovers will be key too.
Pressure from the front four should help in that regard. Justin Houston needs to keep up his stellar play and keep getting sacks. Pressure from the defensive line will allow the rest of the team to drop back into coverage and make it hard for Watson to find gaps.
This is the formula to winning on a short week. If the Colts are able to execute it, they just might leave NRG Stadium with a victory.