With the AFC South divisional title still very much for grabs between all four of its teams, the (6-4) Houston Texans will today take on the (6-4) Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football (8:20 PM ET).
It is football’s most tightly contested division. In the AFC South, the teams are separated by just two games, with the Texans and Colts tied atop the leaderboard at 6-4, the Tennessee Titans at 5-5 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at 4-6. That means that despite the fact we’re entering into week 11 of the NFL season, that all four of these teams are still alive with a chance to win the title that was captured by Houston last year. The Texans finished with an 11-5 record en route to the AFC South Championship, a record that in order to match this year, Houston would need to win five of their remaining six games. At 10-6, the Colts also made the playoffs, and then went on to defeat the Texans in the wild card round. It was a resounding victory but it was as far as the Colts would go as they lost in the following round to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite the loss, it seemed like the Colts were well on their way to becoming the powerhouse in the AFC South again. They may have very well done so, if not for Andrew Luck’s stunning retirement at the beginning of this season. Having missed a decent chunk of time due to injuries, the former first overall pick opted to put his health first and stepped away from the NFL at just 30 years old. It was a huge blow to Indianapolis as the Colts had found great success under Luck during his time as the team’s QB. The team was now in the awkward position of having to replace Luck without the benefit of the free agency period to do so. Jacoby Brissett moved from backup to starter and the results have been a mixed bag thus far.
Things haven’t exactly gone much better for the Texans either however, as they too are dealing with a huge injury blow. Earlier this season, top defensive end JJ Watt, saw his year end early as he suffered a major injury. Without Watt, the Texans have struggled defensively. While the team has played well against some of the league’s lower-level opponents, Houston has failed to stand out where it counts. While the AFC South is still very much winnable for both of these teams, neither has shown yet why they might emerge from the crowded field. Today’s Thursday Night Football game will certainly go a long way to determining the AFC South’s winner as the division’s two best will be on display.
It has been a tough go for both the Colts and Texans as injuries have really told the story of their seasons as has the inability to maintain consistent winning streaks. The Texans have picked up some big wins this year, namely in week six against the Chiefs and week eight against the Oakland Raiders. They have sustained some big losses as well, including the Colts in week seven. Deshaun Watson actually had his third best yardage game of the season, throwing for 308 yards, 106 of which went to DeAndre Hopkins, but Brissett was better. The young Colts QB truly shone, posting his best game and one of the best of his career, throwing for 326 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Brissett was phenomenal, but much like Watson’s Texans, his Colts have been up-and-down. Some of that is on Brissett himself, however, it was when the young QB was injured for two weeks that Indianapolis suffered their worst loss of the season. After Brissett led the team to wins over the Chiefs and Texans, his replacement, Brian Hoyer, struggled in losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and at the time, one-win Miami Dolphins.
As for the Texans, they are coming off a horrific and embarrassing loss, but there is every reason to expect they will rebound. After all, in his career, Watson has only lost once by double digits. Last week was also the only time this season where the star QB recorded a passer rating below 70.
The Colts are fresh off a dominating win over the Jaguars in Brissett’s first game back under center. The star of the game however wasn’t Brissett but rather Jonathan Williams, who recorded his first 100+ yard game on the ground this season after taking over for injured starter, Marlon Mack. For the Colts, that is their biggest advantage coming into tonight’s game as they will need to win on the ground as Brissett won’t be able to defeat Watson through the air.
Our Preview’s Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
The Texans are at home, as they were the last time they recorded a win over the Colts and the USA offshore bookies have them favored in this NFL game by 3.5 or 4 points. These are USAbetting’s Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans predictions for this preview:
- Expect the Colts to keep things at least within a field goal’s margin. Defense should be part of the equation here, though after last week the Texans will need a hard reset in that department. Bet Indianapolis +4pts @ -115 with Bovada.
- Expect a lower scoring game that focuses on longer drives and more time of possession, especially as far as Indianapolis goes. For the total points liable to be scored, take the under 46pts @ -110 with Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.