The Houston Texans will be going for their 10th consecutive win when they play host to the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC South rivalry game. Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 9, at NRG Stadium in Houston. Fans in certain markets will be able to watch the game on CBS.
According to the Week 14 NFL betting odds, the Texans are 5-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at 49.5 points.
Houston’s winning streak started way back in Week 4 when they beat the Colts in a wild 37-34 overtime game. Since then, the Texans have been unbeatable. Despite a few close calls along the way, the Texans have once again hit their stride the past couple of weeks, winning comfortably against the Titans and Browns. In fact, if Tennessee loses on Thursday to Jacksonville, it’ll give the Texans a chance to clinch the AFC South title by beating the Colts on Sunday.
Of course, whether they clinch this weekend or not, the Texans will still have their sights set on the top seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. At the moment, Houston is a game behind Kansas City for the top seed and tied with New England for the second best record in the AFC. That should keep the Texans motivated to keep winning down the stretch.
As for the Colts, they saw their five-game winning streak come to a screeching halt last week in an ugly 6-0 loss to the Jaguars. After scoring a minimum of 24 points in eight straight games, Andrew Luck and company couldn’t put any points on the board last week. The loss dropped the Colts to 6-6, making them one of four teams in the AFC with that record. Those four teams are all a game behind Baltimore, who currently owns the final wild-card spot.
Needless to say, the AFC wild-card race is a little crowded, which could put Indianapolis under pressure to win out over the final four weeks of the season. This week’s road trip to Houston will be the toughest game the Colts have left on their schedule. However, games against the Cowboys, Giants, and Titans to finish the season won’t be easy either.
As mentioned, these two teams played a crazy game in Week 4 that featured over 900 yards of offense, 71 total points, and three field goals during the overtime period. One can only imagine what these two teams have in store for the encore on Sunday.
This was a close game in Week 4, but the Colts were a little fortunate to make a 4th quarter comeback to force overtime in that game. Indy has also come down to earth the past couple of weeks while the Texans have played two of their best games the last two weeks. I think Houston will keep rolling and have no problem covering the spread at home.
It’s not just last week’s loss to the Jaguars that has me concerned about the Colts. They were also a little fortunate to survive against the Dolphins the previous week. Some of the things that Indy was doing during their five-game winning streak have been lacking the past two weeks. That makes me think that they’re definitely a notch or two below the Texans.
Indy’s biggest problem right now may be their offensive line. Injuries have them down to their third-string center, which is obviously a huge concern. Luck was barely touched by opposing defenses for about a month, but the Colts gave up three sacks last week. With the Houston defense having elite pass rushers in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, protecting Luck could be difficult this week. Equally concerning is that the Colts have turned it over five times in their last two games, including three interceptions thrown by Luck. That’s another bad sign heading into a game with Houston’s defense, which forced four turnovers last week.
On the other side of the ball, the Texans are also starting to peak. Running back Lamar Miller is a big reason why. He’s rushed for 100 or more yards in four of his last six games. Having a running game is working wonders for Deshaun Watson. In the four games that Miller has reached the century mark, Watson has nine touchdown passes and no interceptions. His accuracy over the past month has also been outstanding.
To be fair, the Colts have been solid against the run this year. They’re also coming off a game in which they only gave up six points. But slowing down Cody Kessler and the Jaguars is a lot different from facing Watson and the Texans. Moreover, the Indianapolis secondary is banged up right now. Even in their wins, the Colts have been vulnerable through the air. That gives me some concern heading into Sunday’s game against the Texans.
I have no doubt that Luck is capable of matching Watson and the Houston offense score for score. But I’m not sure if he’ll receive enough help around him to do that. After the Jags put pressure on Luck last week and pitched a shutout against the Colts, I think the Texans will have similar success. Indy’s only chance in this game is in a shootout. However, I think Houston’s defense will do enough and enable the Texans to cover the spread.