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Thursday Night Football here as the Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts. This game is extremely crucial in determining the order in the AFC South, so it should be a good one. The Colts are coming off a big win over the Jaguars, while the Texans lost to the Ravens. Oddsmakers opened the Texans as a modest favorite for this one.
Indianapolis got embarrassed by the Dolphins two weeks ago, but they bounced back in a big way this past Sunday. Jacoby Brissett returned from his one-game absence in triumphant fashion, as the Colts stomped the Jaguars. The Colts are a bit banged up at the moment, and it looks like they will be without starting running back Marlon Mack for this one after he broke his hand.
Speaking of getting embarrassed, Houston suffered an ugly loss at the hands of Baltimore. Deshaun Watson and the offense couldn't get anything going, and they only put up seven points. The defense was also pretty terrible, as they gave up 41 to Lamar Jackson. They blew the lead they had in the division, and they have already lost to the Texans once this season.
Colts BackJust two weeks ago the Colts got humiliated, losing to the Miami Dolphins. The loss was pretty misleading though, as they didn't have Jacoby Brissett under center. Brissett returned this past week, and the team unsurprisingly got a lot better instantly.
The offense put up 33 points, and they beat the Jaguars relatively easily. The Colts have been a very dangerous team despite being pretty banged up this entire year, and they're finally mostly healthy. They will be without running back Marlon Mack as he fractured his hand in the win over Jacksonville, but they have plenty of other capable running backs. Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, and Jonathan Williams will be just fine in the backfield. The Colts also have a big coaching edge here, which is especially important for a Thursday night game. Frank Reich has had a lot of success against Bill O'Brien in his brief time as a head coach, and Indy beat the Texans by seven points when these teams played earlier this year.
DARIUS LEONARD IS NOT HUMAN.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) September 16, 2018
1 FORCED FUMBLE
Now that their defense is healthy and they have guys like Darius Leonard back, Indianapolis' defense has been getting really good. In four of their past six games, they've given up 16 points or fewer. They have an underrated defensive front, and they should be able to get plenty of pressure against this turnstile of a Houston offensive line. One important thing to monitor here is the health of the Colts' receiving corp. T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess have both been out for a while, and if either of them can return here it would be a massive boost.
Texans Limping InTo say the Texans are limping into this one would be a pretty big understatement. They're coming off one of the most embarrassing losses of the Bill O'Brien era, as they just lost to the Ravens by 34 points. In the highly anticipated matchup between Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson, Houston didn't show up. Their defense got gashed on the ground all day long, giving up 273 rushing yards. Watson had one of his worst days as a pro, and the offense only mustered seven points. The offensive line was a train wreck yet again, and Watson was sacked six times. If the offensive line plays like that again here, they're going to have a hard time winning. Their secondary is an absolute mess, and the Texans have resorted to signing veterans like Vernon Hargreaves off the street to try to remedy their cornerback woes.
Ever since they lost J.J. Watt for the season, the pass-rush hasn't been nearly as imposing. I'm sure they wish they had Jadeveon Clowney and hadn't traded him away right about now. The Texans still have a strong supporting cast of weapons around Watson, and they will need the offense to carry them here. The Texans have had some struggles against their division rival in recent years, and they're just 1-5 against the spread in their last six games against the Colts. A lot of people are doubting the Texans right about now, and this is an absolute must-win for them. If they lose this one the Colts will clinch the division tiebreaker over them, so they'll essentially be two full games back in the AFC South.
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com Texans are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games vs. the Colts
- 2-8 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Thursday games
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. AFC South
- 10-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 Thursday games
- 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Getting over a field goal with the Colts here is an absolute steal. Now that they're healthy and have Brissett back under center, the Colts are going to be hard to beat. Houston's offensive line is in shambles, and Watson was just sacked six times in their most recent game. Houston has often benefited from an easy schedule, and they are just 2-8 against the spread in their last ten games against teams with winning records. Indianapolis has had Houston's number in recent meetings, and that will continue here. Give me Reich over O'Brien all day long.
Prediction: Colts +3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I also lean towards the over in the spot. Houston's defense is downright atrocious right now, and they simply don't have any answers in the secondary. Reich will be able to exploit that, and expect to see Indianapolis' passing game to have a lot of success here. Watson should bounce back from his terrible effort, and he isn't going to have two awful games in a row. The Texans simply have too much talent on offense not to put up points, and I think the unit comes out extra hungry after their embarrassment against Baltimore.