NFL Week 9 Matchup: Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Preview and Prediction

By Eric Smith
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Sunday Night Football game on NBC this week features two teams going in complete opposite directions. The Indianapolis Colts, who are 5-2 and winners in four of the last five games, are leading the AFC South and will face division foe the Houston Texans who are 2-5 and losers of five consecutive games heading into the primetime contest. The Colts are on the verge of putting a knockout punch to the Texans as fans in Houston are growing restless.

Entering the season the Texans were the favorites to take the division for the third consecutive year while the Colts were supposed to finish right behind them. Everyone knew the window was closing on the Texans for the Super Bowl hopes, but no one thought it would be this quick. Now the Colts appear to have gone through their rebuilding process at 11-5 and making the playoffs in year one, and now they are 5-2 leading the division in year two.

That says a lot where the two teams are heading.

Both teams are coming off bye weeks and should be well rested. The Colts will be full strength minus star receiver Reggie Wayne. He’s not replaceable, but the Texans have even more injuries to key players. Both running backs for the Texans Arian Foster and Ben Tate are injured and not anywhere close to being 100-percent. That could hamper their 10th ranked rushing attack and may force quarterback Case Keenum to make more throws which will put them in bad situations.

Keenum gets the nod Sunday for his second career NFL start as normal quarterback Matt Schaub was injured prior to the bye. Schaub is ready to go, but he was benched in favor of Keenum for this week. That doesn’t bode well for Houston as the Colts bring tons of heat and play tight press coverage. Indianapolis has 21 sacks already this year with Robert Mathis leading the way with 11.5. His pass pressure has forced opposing quarterbacks to release the ball quickly which in turn has led to eight interceptions by the secondary.

The Texans’ quarterbacks have combined to throw 11 interceptions and have been sacked 22 times this year. That’s contributed to them averaging only 17.4 points-per-game which ranks 30th of 32 teams. The Colts’ defense only allows 18.7 per game which ranks sixth. The law of averages make this look like Houston will score around 17-20 points Sunday night and the Colts will get some key turnovers by getting to Keenum a lot.

That leaves it on Indianapolis’ offense to get at least 20 points Sunday. They’ve done that in every game but one and should have some success trying to do so. Houston has struggled in the secondary this year, and the Colts just need to maximize putting points on the board in early possessions. They rank seventh in points-per game scoring 26.7 per game and have the eighth ranked rush offense.

That rush offense will be relied upon a lot this game as they’re trying to replace Wayne. The Texans have the top ranked pass defense and are 26th in rush defense. What’s that tell you there?

Indianapolis needs to control the line of scrimmage and get points on the board. Simple as that.


Indianapolis 27, Houston 17

Come out and see this Sunday Night Football Showdown with the Colts by grabbing your Texans tickets here. Will the prediction hold up or can the Texans pull off the upset?

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