First place in the AFC South will be on the line this weekend when the Houston Texans visit the Indianapolis Colts. The game will get underway at 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 20 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Fans in the Indianapolis market, all of Texas, and a few other markets can watch the game on CBS.
This is one of the tightest games of the weekend with the Colts favored by a single point. The over/under for the contest is set at 47.5 points. Click here to see all of the NFL betting odds for Week 7.
The Texans head to Indy fresh off an impressive road win last week against the Chiefs. Houston has managed to make their heartbreaking loss to the Saints in Week 1 a distant memory. They have won four of their five games since that loss to get to 4-2 and position themselves at the top of the AFC South standings.
Obviously, this is a big game for Houston, especially since they have an advantageous schedule that could allow them to keep the wins coming. The Texans will play the Raiders and Jaguars in the weeks to come, so a five-game winning streak heading into their Week 10 bye isn’t out of the question if they can get a win this week.
Oddly enough, the Colts are also coming off a road win over the Chiefs, knocking off Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium before getting a bye last week. Indy needed that win over the Chiefs in the worst way after a disappointing loss at home to the Raiders the previous week. All five of Indy’s games this season have been decided by seven points or less. Every game has been close, but the Colts have managed to pull out wins in three of them, leaving them at 3-2, just half a game behind Houston in the AFC South.
With a win this week, the Colts would not only leapfrog Houston into first place, but they would have a chance to build on that lead with a manageable schedule leading up to their rematch with the Texans in Week 12. After this week, the Colts play four straight games against teams with losing records, including three of those games at home. That could allow them to build up a lot of momentum if they can survive a home date with the Texans on Sunday.
Historically, the Colts have dominated this rivalry, winning 27 of the 35 all-time meetings. That includes wins in four of their last five games with the Texans, most notably, last year’s Wild Card playoff game, which was a 21-7 win for the Colts in Houston.
In a virtual PK, I’m going to side with the Texans on the road. While I respect the Colts and believe that they’re a difficult team to play, the Texans are the more talented team and have a higher ceiling when they’re at their best. That makes me want to take a chance on Houston, even on the road.
Over the last two weeks, the Texans have scored 84 points. Part of the reason for that is playing two bad defensive teams. But another reason for the scoring outburst is the play of Houston’s much-maligned offensive line. That unit is finally starting to play well and it’s having a significant impact on Deshaun Watson and the rest of the offense.
For most of the season, the Houston offensive line has been able to open up running lanes for Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. Together, those two are averaging 110 rushing yards per game. Better offensive line play also means more time for Watson in the pocket to look downfield for Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins. Opposing defenses can’t possibly stack the box to stop the run while also watching for the deep ball at the same time, making the Texans dangerous as long as the offensive line can win at the line of scrimmage.
In fairness, the Indianapolis defense is capable of playing at a high level. After all, not too many teams can limit Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs to 13 points. The Colts will also be ecstatic to finally get Darius Leonard and Clayton Geathers back from injury this week. However, the rest of the Indianapolis secondary is a little banged up, which could make it hard for the Colts to stop both Fuller and Hopkins this week.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts have been better than expected with Jacoby Brissett taking over at quarterback at the last minute. The key has been the running game, which has excelled behind Marlon Mack, who averages 94 yards per game. However, the Texans have one of the better run defenses in the league, so they might be able to get a handle on Mack and the indy rushing attack. The Texans, of course, can be vulnerable through the air at times. But Brissett usually needs the running game to help set up the pass, so he may not be able to take full advantage of Houston’s lapses in pass defense.
Unless the Colts can turn this game into a defensive slugfest, I think they’ll have a hard time winning. Even if Brissett has a good game passing the ball, Watson is better going down the field and has better weapons. I’ll admit that the Indy defense gives the Colts a chance, but I like my odds with the Texans a little better.