Well, it’s finally here. The Houston Texans (9-3) will finally play a top-tier quarterback for only the third and final time this regular season when they host the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at NRG Stadium Sunday. Of course that count includes Tom Brady Week 1, Andrew Luck Week 4, and now Luck again in Week 14.
Luck has been on an absolute tear the last several weeks, and he and WR T.Y. Hilton have made a habit of mercilessly shredding the Texans over the years... but all that is in the past. Well, other than when they were on their way to doing it again in Week 4 of this season before Hilton left the game with an injury. He still managed 4 catches for 115 yards in that game, coupled with Andrew Luck’s 40/62, 464 yard, 4 TD, 0 INT performance.
But neither team (both 1-3 after that very fortunate Texans win, IMO the single most fortunate win of any this season) is the same team they were then. The Texans are vastly improved, as are the Colts. So let’s see how the BRB Staff sees this first game of the final quarter of the season playing out.
Tim: Texans 27, Colts 20.
About a month ago, I predicted your Houston Texans would continue their winning streak until they played the Colts this week. I called an Indianapolis win. I am now calling an audible.
The Colts are a good football team and, if not for their loss to the Jaguars last week, I’d pencil Indianapolis in as the second wild card team in the AFC. I happen to think the Texans are a better team, and I am encouraged by how they’ve played the last two weeks. I believe the Texans’ offense is starting to catch up to Houston’s defense. Andrew Luck will make things interesting. Deshaun Watson will win.
Chris: Colts 37, Texans 34.
All good things must end. I think the winning streak will be snapped at nine games, but only if the Colts are smart enough to pass the ball from the start, pass it a lot, and work it downfield. Houston’s secondary isn’t very good, BUT they can hold up fine against bad QB play and bad gameplans (thus, bad teams). I don’t yet know what Frank Reich is as a coach, but perhaps Sunday will shed some light. If they come in here truly trying to establish a running game, the Texans will get on them early and often. I just have a feeling Reich will be smarter than that. We shall see.
Indy’s offensive line has protected Luck well enough to bypass the typical “establish the run to open up the pass” - that just is becoming more and more antiquated with every NFL season. Really, it’s long-past relevance for teams that actually do have a good QB and passing attack. It still makes sense as a strategy in some match-ups for, say, the trash-ass Jaguars. Or Titans. Or any number of those garbage football teams who are garbage, living in garbage, and play garbage football as they call garbage plays and are filling NFL stadiums with the stench of their horrible garbagey-garbage.
BUT my thoughts on this game are more about how hard it is to win the NFL, and how hard it is to win NINE(!!!) games in a row. No, I do not think the Colts are a better team. I just think they’ll win Sunday. After that, the Texans will roll up the Jets and we’ll see what happens in Philly. I hope the Texans thoroughly and entirely embarrass me for making this pick.
Titan Matt Weston: Colts 31, Texans 23.
Finally, god damn finally, the Texans will play an actual quarterback. Not the 25th best quarterback in football, but a fringe top ten quarterback. The only downside is Andrew Luck is only 29th in yards per attempt with 6.9. He’s been great at everything: climbing the pocket, finding the open man, throwing with touch and accuracy, and running when he needs to, except for throwing the football hard. Regardless, Johnathan Joseph can’t cover T.Y. Hilton. Shareece Wright can’t cover T.Y. Hilton. Kareem Jackson can’t cover T.Y. Hilton. Eric Ebron is really good and the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league at covering tight ends. Oh, and the Colts defense is actually good. Houston will move the ball some, but kick too many field goals. Luck will fulfill the prophecy and actually throw the ball deep. Houston finally loses.
Mike Bullock: Texans 41, Colts 35.
While common sense says Houston should stick to their guns with a run heavy offense and stifling defense, I think this one turns into a shoot out. But the Colts don’t have the firepower to overcome the ‘still-haven’t-peaked’ Texans on either side of the ball.
10 game win streak and the crowd goes wild. Cue the “Bill O’Brien has only lost one library book his whole life when leading at the half” graphic and much rejoicing.
BFmf’nD: Texans 26, Colts 17.
Everything about this game makes me want to pick the Colts. Their defense isn’t half bad, and Andrew Luck is one of the best QBs we’ll see during the regular season. I mean, heck, we saw what Johnny Manziel, I mean Baker Mayfield, did against the defense last week.
All that said, the Texans are scorching hot, even if it’s because of the softest schedule , so I’m not going against them this week: Four more field goals and another defensive TD.
Mike McCarthy, I mean, BOB will notch another win.
Capt. Ron: Texans 28, Colts 24.
After nearly two decades of watching this franchise set expectations only to break hearts in games that matter, its time to believe that this team has what it takes to finish strong.
Most of my confidence comes from the leadership of Watson on one side and Watt on the other. Despite overly-cautious (ahem, “turtle”) play calling by O’Brien with a two-score lead in the first half, Houston seals this victory to put them on the brink of the division title.
What say you, BRB? Are you outraged that a couple of us are picking against the good guys? You’re probably used to it by now - but this game could go a long way to changing the minds of the shrinking base of Texans’ skeptics. I’m ready to scream and yell and grab people by the shirt and say “THE TEXANS CAN BEAT ANYONE IN THE NFL” and if they win this game, I may very well start doing that. Unless that constitutes assault, in which case, I will not.
Hit us up in the comments section with your predictions, and enjoy the game!