The Colts won’t have to worry about Houston mailing it in against Tennessee.
After blowing a 17-point second-half lead last weekend, the Indianapolis Colts now have just a 73% chance to make the playoffs. While those are pretty solid odds, they’d be considerably higher had Indy taken care of business against the Steelers.
In order to nab one of the three wild card spots, the Colts will have to defeat Jacksonville and watch one of Baltimore, Cleveland or Miami lose their respective matchups. When you consider what’s on the line for their opponents, you would think that one of them will falter.
However, nothing is ever guaranteed in the NFL, especially in this season filled with upsets. In the event that they all manage to win, the Colts’ ship wouldn’t be completely sunk, as a win over the Jaguars and a Titans loss would see them clinch the AFC West crown.
Luckily for them — it feels like we’ve said that a lot this week — Tennessee’s opponent (Houston) doesn’t plan on benching Deshaun Watson unless something truly unforeseen transpires.
"“I expect him to play and help us win,” interim head coach Romeo Crennel told reporters. “If we’re up by 50 at halftime, maybe I take him out.”"
That’s what we like to hear.
Despite the Texans’ front office doing its best to deprive him of elite weapons, Watson has enjoyed arguably the best season of his young career in 2020. The 25-year-old superstar has already recorded career-highs in passing yards (4,458) and touchdowns (30), and is on pace to set personal bests in interceptions (six) and completion percentage (70.1%).
Watson is also the current league leader with 8.8 yards per pass attempt and 12.6 yards per completion, which is nothing short of mind-blowing considering the pedestrian receiving talent and lackluster offensive line around him.
We know Houston has a slim chance (at best) of toppling Tennessee, but Watson being out there with no restrictions means they have an outside shot at pulling off the impossible. Look no further than how close he was to beating the Colts in both of their meetings this season.
It’s also worth noting that the Texans will likely be playing for their pride after edge rusher JJ Watt took them to task in his postgame presser following their lifeless performance vs Cincinnati last weekend.
Are we grasping at straws? Perhaps. But the Texans not calling it quits and choosing to play their all-world quarterback is a win for Indianapolis entering the final week of the season.