Indianapolis Colts: Getting Out to Early Lead Could be Key to Victory Over Houston Texans

By Eric Smith
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis, IN- The Indianapolis Colts may have lost a significant piece of their team in wide receiver Reggie Wayne during their last game on October 20 against the Denver Broncos, but they should still see good results the rest of the season. Many are wondering what to expect out of the Colts when they take on the Houston Texans this Sunday night and if the loss of Wayne would affect them in this game.

Prior to him being injured, the Colts would have been a big favorite. This Texans team isn’t anywhere near as good as they were last year nor the team most expected them to be this season. The AFC South now seems like it’s gone full circle and back into the Colts’ hands again after Houston dominated it the past few seasons. The Texans have lost five straight games entering this week and really were lucky to skate by their first two wins.

Houston is a team getting worse and worse by the game and have some serious concerns. It took a late fourth quarter comeback to beat the San Diego Chargers in Week 1 and then overtime to beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. From there they have yet to win again. With their slide and injuries this game looks to be dominated by the Colts even without Wayne.

Indianapolis must get out to an early lead and they should cruise. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub missed last game due to an injury and is officially benched in favor for Case Keenum. This is good for the Colts. They want him to be throwing as Houston ranks 15th in pass offense as the trio of Schaub, Keenum and T.J. Yates have combined to throw 11 interceptions and have been sacked 22 times.

Indianapolis is very good at getting to the quarterback as they have 21 sacks of their own this season with Robert Mathis leading the way with 11.5. They also are very good at creating turnovers and interceptions as they have eight this year by seven different players. With how bad the Texans’ quarterbacks do with accuracy and protection, this is a good matchup for Indianapolis.

The problem is both teams know this so both will try to pound the ball on the ground early. If the Colts get out to a lead it forces Houston to have to pass and come from behind. Houston ranks 10th on the ground entering their bye week averaging 127.7 yards per game rushing, and the Colts rank 27th against the rush giving up 122.3 yards per game on the ground. The Texans are banged up in the backfield which could be an advantage to the Colts as well, but if they do have Arian Foster and/or Ben Tate healthy they’d rather keep them grounded and force Houston to pass.

In order to force them to pass they need to get out to a lead.

Andrew Luck has done a good job not turning the ball over, and that needs to continue in order to get a lead. He can’t force passes, and they need to maximize the majority of their early possessions by putting points on the board. If they can do that Indianapolis will win Sunday and move to 6-2 while the Texans will lose their sixth straight.

Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru.

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