Indianapolis Colts (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 8:30PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +3/HOU -3
Over/Under Total: 46.5
On Sunday Night Football, the Indianapolis Colts come to NRG Stadium to face the Houston Texans in AFC South action. The Texans are coming off a tough loss on the road to the Vikings, 31-13. Losing to the Vikes is no shame perhaps, though not being competitive was a letdown for the Texans. The Colts, meanwhile, were able to nudge closer to the .500 mark with a 29-23 win over the Bears on Sunday. Itís been a tough start for the Colts, who can start getting in the mix with a win this week.
Bettors need to exercise caution with a team like Houston. Last season, they won the division and theyíre 3-2 this season. A lot of people donít really look at them as a good team. Theyíve fallen flat in their most visible games, which helps create a faulty image. They never seem to get standout QB play. Yet, they continue to win, even as a lot of people canít figure out exactly why.
A key to a team like Houston is going to be their defense. They are one of the best teams against the pass, bolstered by a mean pass-rush. But first, JJ Watt was lost for the season. And we see a secondary that is pretty banged up with Kareem Jackson, Jonathan Joseph, and Quintin Demps all suffering injuries. They are listed as day-to-day, which is positive, but a banged-up ďDĒ is not consistent with the tenuous Houston recipe for success. Itís not a formula that can survive too much tinkering. They do, however, have depth and that can help them survive injuries, but not at the rate guys are going down.
Houston has looked good at home with three wins and covers. In their two road games, they really stunk it up, as they did against Minnesota. Brock Osweiler looked awful, as the Texans were rather quickly out of the game. Osweiler connected late with DeAndre Hopkins on a TD score that made the score look closer than it really was. Then again, we donít want to be too hard on a Texans team for losing road games to the Patriots and Vikings, even if they were disturbingly non-competitive in both of those spots.
Osweiler will have to better this week after a 19-for-42 showing for a paltry 182 yards on Sunday with a pick. The Texans managed only a pair of field goals until late in the game when matters had already been decided. They converted just one of 13 third down attempts and Lamar Miller was a non-factor. They could really use a more-consistent rushing attack to make it all come together. That could help Hopkins form a nice 1-2 receiver punch with Hopkins and promising rookie WR Will Fuller, who has already had some big games this season.
The Colts are hoping they found some answers on Sunday, as they appeared to employ more of a fast-paced approach on offense, with Andrew Luck opening things up more. He got some help on Sunday from his playmakers. TY Hilton showed why he can be one of the best in the conference with 171 yards through the air. Tight end Dwayne Allen also caught a TD pass. Frank Gore is adding production on the ground. And when they struggle to finish drives, as they did at times on Sunday, K Adam Vinatieri is there to do his thing. Also aiding the Coltsí cause on Sunday was the fact that they had no turnovers.
The Colts are going to need all the help they can get on offense. The more they score and hold the ball, he more they can insulate themselves from a defense that simply isnít very good. The Coltsí ďDĒ is giving up nearly 30 points a game. On Sunday, however, they were able to prevent the Bearsí offense from fully taking advantage of their offensive gains. Despite giving up over 500 yards of total offense and forcing just one Bears turnover, they still held Chicago to a manageable 23 points. They were good on third down and tightened up as the Bears threatened to pile it on. For a bad defense, having at least a bit of clutch playmaking ability can go a long way.
In some previous Colts seasons, things didnít get off to a great start and they still made something out of it. Watching the Colts at times in the first part of the season, it looked as though they had completely lost whatever mojo that made them a contender in previous seasons. But locking in that perception of the Colts has taken us off-course before and we canít be caught sleeping on this team. Andrew Luck is like a fighter who fights best when the chips are down. The rough road only sets up the comeback. Guys like Luck play best with something to prove. And the whole offense showed more of that edge on Sunday. Can they do it on the road against a Texans team that has been strong at home this season?
The Colts have more upside. At their best, they can beat a team like Houston. But theyíre not always at their best. And the Texans are just such an easy team to overlook. Offensively, they seem perpetually challenged. And a defense that is supposed to provide relief is not the same ďDĒ that started the season. Against an Indy defense that appeared to find some answers on Sunday, that could prove to be problematic. I see the Texans as more dependable at home, but this might be a bad week for them to withstand the Indy onslaught.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iím betting on the Indianapolis Colts plus 3 points.
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