It’s Battle Red Week here at Battle Red BLARRGGGHH, and Sunday’s game between the Houston Texans (2-9) and the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) features two teams headed in very different directions.
After a rough start, the Colts and quarterback Carson Wentz are playing much better football, while the Texans continue to confound and confuse us all. In our latest episode, the Texans lost at home to the woefully inept New York Jets. It was hilarious, unsurprising, and oddly beautiful in that “staring at the meteor as it approaches Earth” kind of way.
If you can, please take a break from scanning the skies for that sweet, inevitable ELE, let’s take a look at how the BRB staff sees this one playing out:
Tim: Colts 30, Texans 10.
The Colts beat the Texans by 28 points about six weeks ago. I can’t say that I’ve seen anything from David Culley’s squad that makes me think they’ve improved enough to make this a contest. The win over the Titans remains an anomaly, and don’t forget that outlier came a week after the Texans somehow forced five (5!) turnovers from the Dolphins yet still managed to lose.
The Texans are a wretched football team. The Colts are an average to slightly above average football team. Don’t overthink this. Battle Red Day at NRG Stadium will be a disconsolate affair.
Matt Weston: Colts 31, Texans 13.
The Colts have one of the best rushing attacks in the league, and their offensive line is finally healthy. This week, it’s one of the bottom run defenses for them, a defense that utilizes silly run fits to try and create one-on-one tackle chances that really lead to linebackers running out of the play, especially against the outside zone. The Texans have an awful run defense and a pass defense with inflated numbers that trick the masses because of the turnovers they have forced. Jonathan Taylor could, and should, run for 200 yards this week while Carson Wentz throws quick passes off RPOs and draws the occasional DPI. You know T.Y. Hilton is good for at least 100 receiving yards as well.
Chris: Colts 33, Texans 13.
This one may get ugly in a hurry. I will be very interested to see Houston’s strategy on offense, though. The Colts have been hit by a lot of pass interference penalties, so we will see if the Texans take some deep shots and test Indianpolis’ DBs. I do not expect Houston’s embarrassing run game to improve, nor do I expect their embarrassing run defense to improve. The Colts will jump the Texans early and boat race them to a blowout win.
Mike: Colts 48, Texans 9.
Since Week 9, the Colts have dropped 140 points on their opponents, all of whom have better defenses than the 2021 Houston Texans.
The Texans have only scored 164 points ALL SEASON. For anyone not 100% sure about that, yes, it does mean Houston is dead last in scoring. But don’t worry, they’re all the way up to 28th best in giving up points.
The last time these two met was Week 6, when the mighty Houston offense pulled out all the stops to score 3 points and the defense only gave up 31. What’s a negative 28 point scoring differential among division rivals?
After this weekend, that Week 6 loss will seem like a fond memory. We’ve reached critical mass, where players are checking out, David Culley is cemented as in-over-his-head, Jack Easterby’s toxic, dysfunctional “culture” is on full display, and one of the few star players on the roster was benched last week for defending his teammates - what a great message that sends to the rest of the roster.
Meanwhile, the Colts are fighting for a wild card spot, just went toe-to-toe with the Super Bowl champions, and only lost by a touchdown.
Expect this to be as ugly as it gets this season. In fact, Sunday at 12 pm might be a great time to go enjoy some of the wonderful things the city of Houston has to offer. Things that will take your mind off the Texans, like the Museum District, NASA, great shopping, or even just sitting in traffic on 290 while choking on carbon monoxide. All are better options than watching this self-immolating, dumpster fire of a team.
Matt Robinson: Colts 35, Texans 16.
After last week, I’m done picking the Texans to win. I’ll happily admit I was mistaken before giving this team the benefit of the doubt again. The Colts have a sound offensive identity that David Culley desperately wants to imitate. Unfortunately, Houston’s personnel is worlds apart from the division rival.
Speaking of rivalry, the man in possession of the deed to NRG Stadium will be paying a visit this weekend.
Happy T.Y. Hilton vs. the Texans week pic.twitter.com/A8QOEQprpv— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) December 1, 2021
bfMFd: Colts 41, Texans 10.
The Texans lost to the Jests last week. Do you think they are going to beat a decent team?
Here’s the thing about the Texans’ success this year: It’s predicated on fluky plays, including but not limited to Davis Mills’ two crazy throws against the Patriots, Houston’s defense and all those interceptions this year, most on horrendous throws, or Lonnie Johnson Jr. doing anything productive.
You can’t rely on flukes to win football game.
Sit back, don’t think about the win or loss, and watch Jonathan Taylor have a field day against us.
l4blitzer: Colts 31, Texans 16.
When these two last met, the Texans received a master class in the style of football they hoped to play, delivered courtesy of the Colts. A defense that bent but didn’t break and delivered multiple turnovers to the offense, which used a balanced attack of rushing and passing to blast the opponent off the field. For the Texans that day, Davis Mills helmed the squad; while he put up not-bad-numbers-in-a-vacuum, he also didn’t dispel the flaws associated with his overall game. The Colts were also in dire straits at the time, as both teams were in a fight for second place in the AFC South with pitiful records.
Since that game, a few things have changed. The Colts are now back in the discussion for an AFC Wild Card berth (yes, the Titans are stumbling, but the Titans still hold a two-game lead + tiebreaker advantage, so the realistic target for Indy is a Wild Card slot). The ex-Baltimore team is playing better and benefiting from an easier part of the schedule.
As for the Texans, Tyrod Taylor is back in the starter’s spot, but that hasn’t exactly resulted in a major uptick in points/production. Houston’s defense is flashing signs of competency, but only if they are getting turnovers. Without the turnovers, the Texans are not much tougher than the 2020 variant. The overall coaching/line-up determination/on-field game plans have not significantly improved from that earlier contest.
All of that is to say I think that the Texans can still get their yards against the Colts. Taylor, while not great, is a more competent QB than Mills. This, in theory, should result in more points. Perhaps the Texans’ defense will finagle a turnover to two, but there is nothing to suggest that the Colts’ offense, barring a major letdown from last week’s near-miss against Tampa Bay, won’t be feasting again. Indy’s running game, churning up yards and Texans’ defenders, combined with a series of timely deep passes gashes the Texans again, with the end result being the same as it was in Indy...a double-digit loss for the boys in Battle Easterby-Culture Red.
Use the comments section below to share your predictions. Above all else - we don’t have a ton of these left, so despite how rancid and horrific this team is, enjoy yourself some Texans Football on Sunday.