Considering the Colts: A win could determine the division

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The Colts are coming off a bye this week to face a tough Houston Texans team that beat the Chiefs last Sunday. This is the first meeting between these two teams this season, but this matchup could determine who goes on to win the AFC South division. Both teams scored big wins in their last games and will be ready to face off against one another at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts offense took the bye week to get completely healthy with the exception of wide receiver Parris Campbell, who is still recovering from an abdominal surgery. Historically, T.Y. Hilton has owned the Texans secondary, averaging just over 100 yards receiving a game in his career against the Texans. Hilton exuded confidence this week saying, “If (Houston doesn’t double team me) it’s going to be a long day.”

The offense has come under some fire the past couple weeks for the lack of big passing plays. Jacoby Brissett refuted that statement by citing pass interference calls when the Colts attempt a long pass attempt, saying, “Keep watching.” T.Y. Hilton was asked the same question about big plays, to which he replied, “We haven’t really opened it up yet. You haven’t seen anything yet.”

This would be a great week for Frank Reich to go for broke at home and let Brissett sling the ball around, especially to a receiver like Hilton, who knows the Texans and has repeatedly shredded their secondary. The Texans have had some injuries in their secondary, which would play into Indy’s favor. If the Colts can establish Marlon Mack and the run game, it will make it easier for Reich to call plays that will stretch Houston.

The bye week proved to yield good and bad news for the Colts defense. The good news is that linebacker Darius Leonard has been cleared to play following a concussion that sidelined him for two weeks. Safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers both returned to practice as well. Hooker was limited in practice this week and could potentially play Sunday, but his status is still up in the air after having a torn meniscus repaired. 

The bad news is that cornerbacks Kenny Moore and Pierre Desir have not practiced so far this week and could miss Sunday. Defensive ends Justin Houston and Tyquan Lewis are battling injuries as well. Lewis is likely out again this week, but Houston’s status is unknown as of Thursday. The Colts have already lost one defensive end for the season in Kemoko Turay, who was a huge part of the pass rush.

Fortunately for the Colts, the Texans have had trouble with their offensive line this year. Now, when the offensive line shows up for Houston, they have a nearly unstoppable offense with lots of weapons. Led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans offense is aided by wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills, as well as running backs Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. 

The Colts could be in for a long day with the amount of injuries they have in the secondary and if they are not able to keep Watson in the pocket and claim a few sacks,  I would expect the Colts offense to stay balanced, but take deep shots at the right time and take advantage of the Texans secondary. 

The Colts have always been a tough team at home, so I think the home crowd will push the home team over the edge and come out with a win and put the Colts in the driver’s seat in the AFC South.



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