Week 15: Indianapolis Colts At Houston Texans
- QuarterbackAndrew Luck’s numbers don’t tell the full story for this rookie star. While he has thrown a ton of interceptions, he has shown solid leadership ability and he gives the Colts the talent to comeback from deficits and win games. Luck has arm strength, a quick release, excellent understanding of how the defense is going to try to stop him and superb athletic ability.Matt Schaub is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. He often takes on the role of game manager, but when he needs to throw the ball downfield, he has the arm strength, accuracy and quick release to get the job done on a nearly every-game basis. Schaub does not have a charismatic personality, but his teammates respond well to his leadership.
- OffenseInjuries have hurt the Colts’ running game in recent weeks. Donald Brown could not play in the Week 14 game vs. the Titans due to an ankle injury, while Vick Ballard responded with 94 rushing yards. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne is having a superb year and has caught 94 passes for 1,220 yards and four touchdowns. Rookie T.Y. Hilton has the speed to make big plays downfield.Arian Foster is not as powerful as Adrian Peterson or as quick as Ray Rice, but he just may be the best all-around player in the league. Foster is a power back with the speed to get around the corner. He is also a super receiver and a solid blocker. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is a gamebreaker who commands attention and may have to be double-teamed.
- DefenseThe Colts don’t have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they make up for it with aggressiveness and decent positioning. The Colts rank 20th overall on defense and that’s an improvement over last year’s showing when they were 25th overall. The Colts will need a huge game from pass rusher Robert Mathis (7.0 sacks) if they are going to challenge the Texans.The Texans may just be in a mood to impress their home fans by crushing the Colts in order to dissipate their confidence. Defensive end J.J. Watt should be in a position to punish Luck by hammering him in the pocket and deflecting his passes. Strong safety Glover Quin is a big-time hitter and he also excels at breaking up passes.
- Special TeamsAdam Vinatieri made his reputation as a late-season kicker, and this is certainly the time of year for him to excel. He has only made 23-of-30 FG attempts this season, but he has demonstrated throughout his career that he can make big kicks when it matters most. Hilton is an explosive punt returner who can flip the field with his speed.The Texans have struggled with their coverage teams throughout the season. They have given up punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns. Placekicker has struggled on field goals 40 yards or longer, but he is very dependable on shorter kicks.
This appears to be the kind of game where Luck is reminded that he is still a rookie. The Texans have Super Bowl aspirations and they should be able to smack around a team that wants to get to that level. The Colts have overachieved, but they will have a hard time competing on even terms with the Texans for a full 60 minutes.