The last time the Texans and Colts met, back on Thursday Night Football in Week Six of the 2014 regular season, I boldly predicted a win for the good guys. The Texans responded to my expression of faith by promptly giving up 24 points in the first quarter before spiritedly rallying back, only to fall by a final score of 33-28.
This week? This week, the game is in Indianapolis, where I'm sure you've heard the Texans have never won. Although the Texans have won their last two games to elevate their record to 7-6, the past few days have seen the disturbing news that Jadeveon Clowney underwent microfracture surgery and that the Texans will likely be without starters Andre Johnson, Whitney Mercilus, and Garrett Graham on Sunday. These are not the kinds of developments you want your team to be facing with their season on the line. Which, make no mistake, it is on Sunday, as it relates to the Texans staying in contention for a postseason berth.
I'm not optimistic about the Texans' chances this week. If Andre Johnson cannot play (and I do not think he'll be cleared to participate), the Texans' offense devolves into an alarmingly limited contraption. Not that it was a paragon of efficiency and multiplicity with 'Dre on the field, but no Andre Johnson means Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins are the alpha and omega. As great as those guys are, do you really expect them to keep up with Andrew Luck & Co.?
To that end, I'm going to be brief with my predictions this week. Three (3) things sure to happen at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday:
1. T.Y. Hilton continues to confound the Texans. He won't break 200 yards receiving again, but he will break 120 yards and score at least one TD when he gets behind Houston's secondary.
2. With all the focus on Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Watt, Andrew Luck has been left out of substantive discussions about NFL MVP. He shouldn't be. He's phenomenal, and he'll remind us again on Sunday when he throws for 330 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs. Luck is not infallible, though; he will lose a fumble (that's been a glaring problem for him and the Colts this year), thanks to J.J. Watt stripping the ball from him.
3. Despite everyone and their mother knowing the ball is going to be in his hands as much as possible, Arian Foster will be sublime again. He'll score two TDs and account for 140 total yards as the Texans feature him in the passing game in an attempt to give Ryan Fitzpatrick more than one viable receiving option.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: Fittingly, the Texans' playoff dream ends in a place where they have never won. The streak runs to 13. Texans 20, Colts 30.
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