What more can be said? The Houston Texans will travel to face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday with their playoff lives on the line. The winner of this game is the presumptive 2015 AFC South Champion, however I am quite amused at the assumption that the Texans couldn't possibly lose a game to the Titans or Jaguars in the final two weeks.
Personally, for me - they won't have won the division until they've won it, which is also why I dismiss out-of-hand the lunacy of "the Patriots game means nothing". Even with the proper context that's just crazy to me. Buuut no need to fight that battle here (I'm looking at you, Weston).
Let's get on the record! Here's how the BRB staff sees the game going, with the knowledge we are likely looking at a matchup between T.J. Yates and Matt Hasselbeck:
Chris - Colts 17, Texans 13.
The Colts are awful, rotting garbage. The Texans are just not very good. Yet, despite that - I just can't bring myself to pick them in Indianapolis until they prove otherwise. I mean, they already lost to a Hasselbeck-fronted Colts team in an important, early-season, nationally-televised Thursday Night Football game in Houston. I don't really care if the defense is playing better now than they were then. That game, at least as much or even more than the Atlanta and Miami games, more accurately told me where this team is in 2015.
I, like all of you (except for the 'lose for draft positioning' idiots) so badly want this team to win, but it's tough to get really excited when you know the division title is fool's gold. Luckily, I think Bill O'Brien knows that even if Bob McNair does not.
As to this matchup specifically, Houston's offense will struggle mightily as it always does. DeAndre Hopkins is already getting antsy with this offense and quarterback situation. The tight end situation is so awful, it actually makes me laugh. The drops - my god man, the drops. The running game has shown signs of life and that's what will give them success against a BAD Colts' rush defense... but in the end I just can't pull the trigger on a Texans victory, especially with the knowledge that J.J. Watt is not going to be himself the rest of this season. The Colts are certainly and decidedly a bad team... but the Texans certainly aren't good either. Will I be surprised if the Texans win? Absolutely not. Even if they blow Indy out, that will not be much of a surprise, but if it goes down that way, I just feel like this team has proven over and over again their successes in 2015 (especially on offense) are more a function of how poor their opponents have been rather than how good Houston has been, with notable exceptions.
Matt Weston - Colts 24, Texans 10.
I want nothing else in my life other than YATES WHITEHURST AFC SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP. That's it. That's all I want. If this happens I don't care what the score is.
Anyways, since this is supposed to a prediction, I'm going Indy 24, Houston 10. The Texans have never won in Indy, and they never will, until it actually happens. Rookie Blaine Gabbert could be the QB for the Colts and I'd still pick Indy. Also, I hope Andre Johnson has 200 yards and 3 touchdowns all on deep posts that isolate him against Quintin Demps.
MDC - Andre Johnson 18 + Rest of Colts 10 = 28, Texans 17.
While I'm glad that the Free Weejay Movement returns, this offense is still a dumpster fire at best. Mainly, I just want T.J. to feed Nuk for fantasy football purposes.
Dunsmore - Texans 24, Colts 14.
T.J. Yates holds down the fort as the defense is able to make enough of an impact to get control of the game. Dre will score the two touchdowns -- because yeah my soul needs more hurting. It will be a terrible sloppy game that I'm contemplating going to see Star Wars again instead of watching it.
bfMFd - Texans 20, Clots 13
This will be the definition of an ugly, ugly game, but I think your Houston Texans win this one in Indy IF Charlie Whitehurst is at QB. If we see Matt Hasselbeck starting, flip the score.
Offensively, the Clots have been showing their age with Hasselbeck, Frank Gore, and Andre Johnson. TY Hilton, though, can easily still scorch our secondary deep. The question, however, is will his QB have time to throw the deep ball behind a middling offensive line?
Defensively, the Clots aren't nearly as good with Henry Anderson, who was playing fantastic ball before being injured. Outside of Robert Mathis and Erik Walden and Trent Cole to some degree, the Clots struggle to get to the QB, which should give Weejay time to pick on a pretty poor Clots secondary.
Capt. Ron - Texans 17, Colts 13
The Texans have never won in Indy, but that really doesn't matter except to the loyal fans who have endured 14-years of agony. Notwithstanding a few longtime Houston players at any given time in the past, there are about four core generations of this team over that course of time. The previous three generations have little to do with the current one, so what happened to other versions of the Texans has no relevance to this version.
That being said, THIS version of the Texans (without Arian Foster) may be the worst offense in franchise history. They struggle to extend drives and put up points, because they have ONE single offensive weapon in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. It just isn't enough in today's NFL. The defense has a few weaknesses in mismatches at times, but can generally do enough early on to keep the team in the game. That is until they begin to fatigue without getting a decent blow from the offense.
If the defense and special teams can somehow put up points and/or win the turnover battle and/or benefit from an imbalance of penalties in their favor, then Houston has a chance to win this game. Winning simply won't happen if Houston has to rely on this offense to get them there.
The Texans and Colts realize that this is basically the division championship and their only shot at getting to the playoffs, so it will come down to which group of men want it more. I think Bill O'Brien and J.J. Watt will have this team fired up to win this one.....somehow....in-spite of the offense sputtering along in agonizing fashion.