Many people are calling the game on Sunday between the Texans and the Colts the biggest football game for the City of Houston since the Oilers played there. The Texans have their best record in franchise history but are staring down the barrel of an undefeated Colts team. The Texans will have to play close to perfect to come away with what would be the most important win in their history thus far. These are the five matchups I feel will make or break the Texans on Sunday.
1. Amobi Okoye vs. Mike Pollak - Pollak, the Colts' right guard, had issues last week against San Francisco. The 49ers' defensive line was able to get penetration early and often, which did not allow Manning to step up in the pocket. Even though the Niners lost, I think they showed exactly what we need from Amobi Okoye this week--penetration.
2. Dunta Robinson vs. Reggie Wayne - I hate this matchup. I have visions of Wayne running loose all over the place on Sunday. Last time I said that Robinson had to prove he was worth the money he demands, he was burned for 5 receptions for 103 yards and a lengthy pass interference penalty to boot while covering Chad Ochocinco. Dunta will have to limit Wayne as best he can if he wants a leg to stand on next time he writes on his shoes.
3. Duane Brown vs. Dwight Freeney - Last year, Freeney abused Brown for three sacks in two games. That means that roughly 30% of Freeney's sacks in 2008 came at the expense of Brown in his rookie season. Brown has probably been the most improved player on the offense and a big reason that Matt Schaub has performed so well. Brown needs to continue to give Schaub the time he needs despite the history he has with Freeney.
4. Steve Slaton/Ryan Moats vs. Clint Session - The Colts have given up the fewest points in the NFL, but opponents have rushed for an average of 4.5 yards per carry against them. Outside linebacker Clint Session has the second most tackles on the team, but safety Antoine Bethea has the most, and it's never a good sign to have a member of your secondary lead that category. Whoever runs between the combo of Slaton and Moats needs to run well in order to open up the passing game.
5. Frank Bush vs. Peyton Manning - Everyone knows this is the guy you need to at least slow down in order to have a chance. If you blitz him too much, he'll gouge you with huge plays. If you don't apply any pressure, he'll nickel and dime you all the way down the field. Bush will have to come up with the right mixture to try to limit #18 as much as possible. Even though 347 yards passing doesn't sound like a bad day, San Francisco was able to frustrate Peyton for zero touchdowns. Three words will have to sum up the Texans defensive philosophy on Sunday--"Bend, Don't Break."