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BRB Staff Predictions & X-Factors (Week 5): Houston Texans v. Indianapolis Colts

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The Masthead come together like Voltron and drop knowledge, insight, and a little gloom upon you before the Texans and Colts take the field for Week 5.

A vision of the future.
A vision of the future.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

If you are one of those people who says things like, "The NFL season is really like four separate four-game stretches," you are both technically correct and mind-numbingly dull at parties. But, hey, every party has one of those people, so you do you, Hypothetically Boring Person.

However, if you want to look at the Texans' 2015 season as a live-action quatrain, then you can say two things with absolute certainty: (1) the first line of the poem that is 2015 sucked; (2) the first part of the second line of the poem involves the Colts. (I suppose there's actually a third certainty here: MDC just stretched that quatrain analogy well beyond its breaking point.)

The question, then, is whether tonight's game is the bounce-back that leads to a (minor) turnaround of sorts for your Texans, or whether it is merely another flogging in our descent into eternal blackness. Let's see what the BRB Masthead predicts:

Dunsmore: Texans 24, Colts 21.

Andre actually stabs Toro? J.J. Watt gets one good hit on Andrew Luck, limiting him further at quarterback. The offense shows some life with Arian Foster getting them into rhythm. Yes, cocaine is a hell of a drug. Go Astros.

BFD: Texans 20, Colts 16.

Like Big Matt, Colts 24 Texans 17. One of our TDs will be from a pick six. Brian Hoyer will again come in for Ryan Mallett, and between them they'll have 55 pass attempts.

[73 minutes later]

Whoa, Hasselbeck is starting? Last I saw it was Luck, but I see Rap's report. Hasselbeck actually looked competent last week, though. Hmmmm.

I'm going to change mine to 20-16 Texans. Each team misses an extra point for the lulz.

Diehard Chris: Texans 21, Colts 20.

Two bad teams playing badly. Each one needs a "get well" game and each one is the perfect type of team to get well against. I still just don't think the Texans OR Colts are as dreadful as they each look. Couple that with the fact that Andrew Luck is just not himself, I think the Texans barely squeeze by - but not the type of "feel good" win that makes you have hope they will start trending up.

Brett: Texans 30, Colts 13.

Apparently Matt Hasselbeck is starting for the Colts, and he isn't exactly healthy either considering he had to be hospitalized this week with a virus. In order for the Texans to turn their season around, I think they just need to go out and genuinely beat the ever-living shit out of someone. Pound the ball with Arian Foster, set J.J. Watt loose against the quarterback, and just finally be the team that embarrasses someone rather than the other way around. Winning fixes everything in the NFL, and I think they go out and do that tonight.

Weston: Texans 13, Colts 10.

Dammit, I was looking forward to Luck. I'm changing mine to 13-10 HOU and the Texans' only TD involves J.J. Watt.

Capt. Ron: Texans 20, Colts 19, Plus "Analogies."

This game will likely define the 2015 season for Houston. If the Texans' players stand around and watch, like they did last week, let's just start the draft talk now. If they decide to give a crap about their chosen profession and work together, they should be able to beat a Colts roster that is nearly a mirror image of the Texans in terms of injuries and struggling to execute together as a complete team. I don't know what the hell is going on with Houston's defense--a large collection of first round draft picks that on paper should be a "top-5 in the league juggernaut"--but they need to shut down two fast receivers in T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett. The Colts won't have Andrew Luck available, so the Texans should take this opportunity to correct course for this 2015 season. This game is the first of four upcoming tilts that could all be winnable and put Houston in control of the AFC South with a 5-3 record at the bye-week.

As for the offense, the receivers need to be on the same page as Ryan Mallett, and then they need to catch the ball when it is on target. On that note, Mallett needs to be on target way more often.

In pistol shooting, we use this chart to help correct accuracy errors:

 photo pistol correction chart_zpsxmcn20sp.jpg

Perhaps this chart might help Ryan Mallett:

 photo Mallett pistol correction chart_zpswrwowtu1.jpg

MDC: Colts 19, Texans 12

I think you're all high. Nothing about this team right now makes me think they can win this game, even with Andrew Luck out. I don't care how poorly Hasselbeck plays, Ryan Mallett will be worse. Unless Arian Foster goes off for 200+ against the Colts for the second time in his career, this will be a long, forgettable night.

Note: My prediction of 12 for Houston is two TDs, with two missed XPs. Because kickers.

***

X-Factors

Brett:

The safeties are my X-Factor. T.Y. Hilton has been a Texan killer for almost his entire career thus far, and a big part of that is Houston's safeties repeatedly getting beat over the top. Whether it's biting on play action fakes or just flat out not being able to keep up athletically, for some reason Hilton has always found a way to walk out of this game with 150+ yards and a win. Let's hope that ends tonight.

BFD:

The coaching staff. In not one game have the Texans been prepared for their match-up, being badly out-coached right from the start. Neither the offensive nor defensive schemes have been effective, though there are additional reasons for this. If the two worst QBs in the league again combine for 50+ passes, something is terribly wrong.

MDC:

Frank Gore. Right now, I don't believe that the Texans can hold any decent RB under 100 yards if the other team is committed to running. Gore is nowhere near as fast as Devonta Freeman, so they won't have speed as an excuse for missed tackles. If Gore makes the ILBs and safeties look silly--and I suspect he will--we'll officially know that the it's the players, not the scheme, that suck.

Weston:

Andre Johnson with zero reasoning other than I want him to rub his nuts on Houston's tonsils tonight.

Diehard Chris:

My X-factors are the non-JJ Watt pass rushers. I know Clowney is looking about as healthy and effective as anyone can reasonably expect considering how closely removed he is from microfracture surgery, but it's time for some of those close calls to turn into sacks. Other than that, the Texans have exactly squat for a pass rush - and if we can't get to Matt Hasselbeck with that offensive line? Ugh. More ugh than we even originally thought. An entire season of ugh that will quickly turn to ARGH and finally into murders. Or indifference.

Capt. Ron:

Romeo Crennel, George Godsey and Bill O'Brien are the "X-factors" tonight. If they don't have the Texans ready to execute a game plan to beat this vulnerable Colts team in the comfort of NRG Stadium, then this game will be lost along with the rest of the 2015 season.

Tim:

I have to agree with BFD and Ron here. Tonight's x-factor is the Texans' coaching staff. It's sad that we're reduced to calling a Week Five tilt against a 2-2 Colts team a "must-win" situation, but here we are. If, after getting totally destroyed in Atlanta last week, the Texans fail to beat a Colts team that's missing Andrew Luck, on a short week, at NRG Stadium, this season officially moves from bad to disastrous. While I don't think Bill O'Brien would be in trouble from a job security standpoint, I do wonder if he'll hold his peers as accountable as he's held the players should this team drop to 1-4 tonight.

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