After last week, the Houston Texans are 1-5 on the road in 2016. They sit in a tie for the lead of the AFC South at 6-6. The Indianapolis Colts are also 6-6, and they are our sworn mortal enemy and opponent this coming Sunday. We bested the Colts in overtime last time round, but what's worth watching on this occasion?
1. Depleted Secondary
The Texans currently have four members of their secondary on injured reserve, and we may soon be able to add another to that list. I'm no doctor, but I would say two cracked ribs probably makes playing football a bad idea, no? Well, that's the battle Johnathan Joseph faces to get back on the field before the end of the season, whenever that may be.
Kareem Jackson has also appeared on the injury report this week. Whilst only limited, it could be something to keep an eye on this Sunday.
Newly acquired Al-Hajj Shabazz provides a bit more length and an excellent upgrade in your scrabble score, but whether or not he'll be ready to perform against the Colts is another question.
We need to conjure up as much of that voodoo healing magic as possible for Kareem Jackson to make sure he sees the field. I don't know about you, but having a starting trio of A.J. Bouye, Robert Nelson, and Shabazz is nightmare-inducing for me. Plus, in that scenario, we'd have no backup cornerback, unless Andre Hal counts.
What a time to be facing another elite quarterback.
2. Colts’ Run Defense
Speaking of bad timing, how about the Colts’ top tackler, D'Qwell Jackson, getting caught for using PEDs and suspended for four games? The Texans’ run game has lacked explosiveness in the past couple weeks, so the Colts losing an important run stopper should help our chances.
Lamar Miller averaged 6.2 yards per carry for 149 yards last time against the Colts, and another performance like that is just what the doctor ordered. Although, with Miller nursing ankle and rib injuries, Alfred Blue may have to step up to the plate.
The Colts’ defense has given up 4.5 yards per carry this year, tied for fifth-worst in the league with the Cleveland Browns. It will be worth watching how Indianapolis’ defense manages down its best inside linebacker.
3. Texans’ Edge Presence
Stop me if you think you've heard this one before. Jadeveon Clowney is injured. Whilst this time it appears he thinks he can play, BOB has implied that Clowney may miss more time as he is rested to be healthy for our
long playoff run.
The sad side effect is that we have no one that can set the edge opposite Whitney Mercilus, especially with the continued absence of John Simon. A world in which Ufomba Kamalu, fresh off the practice squad, has to play 67% of snaps is a sad world.
The Packers were able to exploit the weak run defense opposite Mercilus. Expect the Colts to do the same if Clowney is unable to return.
How will the Texans adjust? Only time will tell.
4. Texans’ Pass Protection
The best way for Brock Osweiler to succeed is to give him time in the pocket without any pressure to worry about. Against the Packers, we just didn't do that. Maybe it was the difficult conditions under foot, meaning they couldn't get the same push as they normally would. Either way, we gave up too many sacks and Osweiler threw poorly (again).
I don't expect any lineup changes on the O-Line, but look for more blocking TEs or chip blocks from Lamar Miller coming out of the backfield. We need to give them any support we can.
Can we keep the pocket clean for Brock this time out and make it the fourth game this season without an interception?
What are your thoughts heading into the game? Comment below.