AFC Wildcard Round AFC South Battle
Six games into the regular season the odds of both of these sides playing in the postseason must have been in the thousands to one given they were a combined 4-8 and one of those wins was when the two sides met in week four (a narrow 3 point win for the Texans). However, both went on tear-ups with the Colts having won nine of their last ten games and the Texans ripping off Nine wins in a row starting with that Colts game. They enter the Game at 10-6 & 11-5 respectively and are both amongst the hottest teams in the NFL at the moment.
Both were injury plagued last season when they had identical 4-12 records however getting players back and in the Colts case, some great drafting has made all the difference in setting up what might be the closest game of the weekend. The score is currently 1-1 and they have both scored exactly 58 points in the two games. Both lost their home games.
Houston being at home are 2 point favourites however they are a tad lucky to be in this position given that in the first game it took a head-scratching call by the Colts to get them the win. With the game tied in OT at 34-34 and time almost out Indianapolis Coach Frank Reich inexplicably went for it on 4th down at their own 43-yard line. Even with a completion, it was hard to see them getting into field goal range hence punting and taking the tie was the obvious decision. The attempt failed to leave just enough time for Houston to get a passing play off – they ended up kicking the winning field goal as time expired one play later. As it transpires they would have had home field thanks to the head to head.
The Colts success this year has been built on a hugely improved Offensive line and drafting Quinton Nelson has been the main reason. The ex Norte Dame OL man has had a great season and the drafting of Bradon Smith in round two now looks like a masterstroke. Andrew Luck has gone from one of the most sacked QBs to one of the least (a league-low 18) and Pro Football Focus ranks the Colts OL as the best in the playoffs. That early season losing run included defeats to New England & Philadelphia – both playoff teams and their only recent loss was in that 6-0 defensive slugfest loss to Jacksonville.
Houston has benefitted most from returning players and with JJ Watt back lining up opposite Jadaveon Clowney that Colts OL should have a busy night. Also, Deshaun Watson is back and looking every bit as good as he was in steering Clemson to a national title in college. He has tossed 26 TDs and rushed for another 5, not in Lucks league TDs wise but still respectable and he is a genuine dual threat being so mobile. They lost to the Eagles & Patriots too and look to have played a similar schedule.
This one is very hard to pick, but we think that the Colts OL will give Andrew Luck enough time to rack up a few scores and they have the ultimate clutch kicker in Adam Vinatieri who kicking this might come down to
The Colts to win by 31-28.