The Colts should have a distinct advantage over Houston after the Texans’ lengthy injury report was revealed.
The Indianapolis Colts face an evident trap game on Sunday against Houston, who were dangerously close to pulling off an upset in this same matchup just a few weeks ago.
Fans will remember that the Texans (down six at the time) were knocking at the door deep in the red zone before Deshaun Watson coughed up the pigskin on 2nd and Goal at the two-yard line, allowing Indy to subsequently line up in victory formation.
Given how tightly packed the AFC playoff race is, the Colts cannot afford to take Houston lightly again. While we should have nothing to worry about in that regard given how well they’ve performed over the last two months, fans can point to the Texans’ lengthy injury report as a surefire sign of optimism.
With less than 24 hours remaining until kickoff, Houston ruled out running backs Duke Johnson and CJ Prosise, as well as cornerback tandem John Reid and Phillip Gaines, due to injury.
If this doesn’t give the Colts a huge edge in this must-win game, then nothing will.
For starters, Johnson and Prosise not traveling with Houston means that their depleted backfield will have to lean heavily on veteran David Johnson, who was just activated off the COVID-19 reserve list in the middle of the week and has looked extremely sluggish in between the tackles after a promising start to the season.
The aforementioned duo normally provides the Texans with a needed change of pace and versatility in the backfield, especially on obvious passing downs. Johnson having to handle a larger-than-expected workload after missing five days of preparation is huge news for Indianapolis, who could be without pass rusher DeForest Buckner.
As for Reid and Gaines, their absences will leave Houston extremely undermanned in the secondary, which was already the weakest component of their defense. For context, they currently rank 24th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (254.3).
In the simplest of terms, this has all makings for quarterback Philip Rivers, wideout TY Hilton (who feasts vs the Texans), and the rest of the Colts’ aerial attack to have an monster performance.
Bottom line, fans have every reason to riot if Indianapolis doesn’t pull out a win on Sunday, especially after going 6-2 in the last eight games.