Two AFC South rivals meet in the first round of the playoffs as the #6 seed Colts travel to face the #3 seed Texans.
The Colts are fresh off their 33-17 “play in game” win over the Titans on Sunday night. In week 15, they beat the Cowboys 23-0 and in week 16 they beat the Giants 28-27.
The Texans defeated the Jags 20-3 in week 17 to lock up the #3 seed. In week 15 they beat the Jets 29-22, and in week 16 they lost 32-30 to the Eagles.
Bovada has the Texans as 2 point favourites with an O/U total of 47.5.
(10-6 overall, 4-4 on the road)
The Colts pulled off the Cinderella rags to riches story as they snuck into the playoffs behind Andrew Luck and Frank Reich. Luck has thrown for 4593 yards, 39 TDs, and 15 INTs while completing 67.3% of his passes and averaging 7.2 YPA. T.Y. Hilton continues to be Lucks go-to guy, catching 76 balls for 1270 yards and 6 TDs, while Eric Ebron has established himself as a red zone mismatch with 66 catches for 750 yards and 13 TDs. Nyheim Hines (63/425/2) and Chester Rodgers (53/485/2) are involved as well. On the ground, Marlon Mack has established himself as the lead back, rushing 195 times for 908 yards and 9 TDs.
The Colts defense ranks 10th in scoring, allowing 21.5 PPG. Their passing defense ranks 16th, allowing 237.8 yards per game and 21 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks t-19th with 38 sacks. Their run defense ranks 8th, allowing 101.6 yards per game and 12 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 26 turnovers (t-10th) and as a team they own a +2 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
WR Ryan Grant (toe) – questionable, C Ryan Kelly (neck) – questionable, S Clayton Geathers (knee) – questionable
(11-5 overall, 6-2 at home)
The Texans offense has run through Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins almost exclusively. Watson has thrown for 4165 yards, 26 TDs, and 9 INTs while completing 68.3% of his passes and averaging 8.2 YPA. Hopkins has 83 more receptions than any other player on the Texans roster, registering 115 catches for 1572 yards and 11 TDs. Lamar Miller (25/163/1), Ryan Griffin (24/305/0), Jordan Thomas (20/215/4), and DeAndre Carter (20/195/0) are involved as well. Lamar Miller leads them in rushing with 210 carries for 973 yards and 5 TDs while Alfred Blue (150/499/2) and Deshaun Watson (100/550/2) are utilized as well.
The Texans scoring defense ranks 4th, allowing 19.8 PPG. Their pass defense ranks 28th, allowing 260.4 yards per game and 28 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks t-11th with 43 sacks. Their run defense ranks 3rd, allowing 82.7 yards per game and 8 TDs on the ground. The Texans defense has forced 29 turnovers (4th) and as a team they own a +13 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Johnathan Joseph (neck) – questionable, WR Keke Coutee (hamstring) – questionable, EDGE J.J. Watt (arm) – questionable
This should be a fun game to kick off the playoffs this season. The Colts high powered offense should fare well against a Houston secondary that gives up a lot of chunk plays through the air. Yards on the ground will be hard to come by against a tough Houston front 7, and they are going to come after Luck with ferocity. The Texans just lack solid coverage from the corner position, and T.Y. Hilton should get lose for a few deep shots.
The Texans offense runs through Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, and they shouldn’t have much issue finding chunk plays against a Colts secondary that lacks difference makers. Running the ball will be tough for the Texans as well against a tough Colts defense. This game should turn into a track meet, with a lot of vertical shots and yards after the catch, with the Colts coming out on top behind the arm of Andrew Luck and an opportunistic stop or 2 by the Colts D.
Final Pick: Colts (+2)