If you were to tell me before the 2012 campaign, that a Week 15 division matchup between the Colts and Texans would be a major and significant game for both clubs, I would have raised an eyebrow. However, Sunday’s game is exactly that for an AFC South dominant Houston club, and a surging Indianapolis club, back from the dead. Houston can clinch a division title in their division with a win as the “w” would keep a thumb on a feisty 2nd place Colts team that can clinch a playoff berth by taking down their division bad boys.
Though both clubs are an identical 8-2 in their last 10 games, the 2nd half of the season has shown the two moving in opposite directions. The Texans who looked untouchable early, began to stumble against a couple of below .500 teams, get a lackluster win against another, then get embarrassed in prime time in a game that looked promising as a close one. Speaking of close ones, a young Andrew Luck has been proving every naysayer (including myself) that he has the one attribute we all thought he might fall short with as he has shown poise late in games and has proven to be a very clutch game-winner and leader. The Colts have won a string of close ones which seem to reflect their momentum carried over from weeks before.
Passing Game: The Colts have really gotten after the pass in the last few weeks, and have shown great situational defense. The Texans have shown a good overall pass defense, but seriously lack in situational coverage, which laid them out for Belichick and Brady to carve them up last week. Schaub did actually have a decent game last week, but we’ll see how much his red zone pick lingers in his mind as that single play squashed any momentum the Texans could muster in Foxboro. Luck proved that he can still maintain his best Brett Favre impression by trailing via his turnovers and then leading a rally-happy team to victory as he took advantage of the Titans’ mistakes when it mattered most.
Running Game: This area is a major advantage for the Texans, half because of their blocking schemes and half because of talent. Though Vick Ballard has shown signs of a great career to come, Arian Foster has proved to be opportunistic in whatever role he performs for the Texans. However, we haven’t been seeing as much of Arian late in the season. There have been much more passes and touches for Forsett as the Texans have, perhaps errantly, changed their pass-run balance. The Colts run a Patriot and Lion-like reverse play-action where the pass sets up the run via draws and delays. I doubt we’ll see any big gainers for Ballard against Houston’s front seven, but I expect to see big numbers for the Texans against the Colts.
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Defense: The Colts defense is getting it done, but let’s face it, they still need some work. The Texans’ defense has not been getting it done, but let’s face it, they are beasts. When an untalented defense succeeds it’s because of chemistry, coaching, and a good game plan, and when a talented defense such as the Texans falters is because of the lack of those very same factors.
The Colts will have to wait to bring the Texans home before they can beat them as the Texans somewhat get back on track with a close win 31-24 against the Colts.