Indianapolis Colts (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date and Time: Thursday, October 9th, 8:25pn EST
Where: NRG Stadium - Houston, TX
TV: NFL Network
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND -3/HOU +3
Over/Under Total: 46
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Tune into the NFL Network this Thursday night for an AFC South battle when the Indianapolis Colts travel south to take on the Houston Texans. Both teams come in at 3-2 overall, and tied atop the division. Indy started the season at 0-2, but has bounced back with three straight wins and two of those were against AFC South opponents. Houston started 2-0, just like last season, but since then have gone 1-2, however, one those losses was a hard fought overtime contest at Dallas, while the other was a road loss to the New York Giants. Houston is unbeaten at home, yet comes into this game as a three point underdog. The media and general public is in love with the skill set of Andrew Luck and much of that plays into why the Colts are favored on the road. Again, the Colts come in favored by a field goal, and the total points are set at 46.
This is a huge game for the landscape of the AFC. The winner of this game takes sole possession of the AFC South division lead, and will be in the drivers seat to make it to the postseason. Of course, the season is still early, but many times these inner division games are the difference between a wild card and sitting at home in January. This game is BIG. As for the injuries, both teams will come in pretty healthy. Houston has JJ Watt listed as questionable, along with Andre Johnson, but it appears both guys are going to be able to suit up and play at close to 100% On the Colts side, there also appear to be no major injuries. Running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, is listed as probable as well as wide out, Reggie Wayne, and linebacker, Bjoern Werner. This will be a fair fight with no excuses from either side.
Indianapolis was one of my favorites going into this season, and after the 0-2 start I began questioning myself. As the season has progressed, the Colts look good. Their two losses came against the defending AFC champs, the Denver Broncos, and a high flying Eagles team on the road. Not many NFL would survive that start. Since that time, Andrew Luck has led the Colts to three straight wins over the Jaguars, Titans, and Ravens. The Colts have played well on both sides of the ball all season. Andrew Luck leads the league in passing at about 320 yards a game, and the Indy defense ranks in the upper half of the league in both passing and rushing defense. This is a complete team. Like many teams now days, the Colts running game is "by committee" with Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson sharing the load. Bradshaw gets the most out of his carries, averaging about five a clip, while Richardson gets about 3.5 a carry. Richardson has a scoring carry and has handled most of the load, but this tandem has done well together and I see that continuing as the season goes on. To go on the road and win this game, the Colts just need to be the Colts. Let Luck run the offense, while the defense plays solid and forces the Houston offense to earn everything they get.
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Houston sits at 3-2 just like Indy, but in my opinion it is much less impressive. Houston has not been flashy at all and two of their wins were against the worst teams in the NFL while the other came against Buffalo. The Houston offense is led by Arian Foster who has over 400 yards rushing and 3 rushing scores already this season. If not for Foster, I am not sure the offense would function at all. Quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick has done an okay job but he has more interceptions (6), than he does touchdown passes (5). If the Texans are going to be a legit playoff contender, division winner or wild card, the passing game MUST improve. On the defensive side of the ball, the Texans are not too stout. They are 25th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (132 per game), and 21st in passing defense (253 per game). J.J. Watt has been the bright spot however, with an interception, fumble recovery, two sacks, and 19 combined tackles and assists. This guy is a one man wrecking crew on defense but he needs some help. In a few weeks, rookie sensation, Jadeveon Clowney is set to return, and that could very well be the spark the Texans need to close out the season. Until that time though, Houston needs some wins to make sure they are still in the hunt. To win this game, they will need to keep the score low. Run the ball effectively and keep Andrew Luck, Arian Foster, and Reggie Wayne off the field. If the Colts score in the mid to upper 20's, Houston is in for a long Thursday night.
These two teams have played twice a year for quite some time, the Colts have covered the spread in four of the last five contests including a sweep of the Texans just last season. Houston wants to move on from the 2-14 season of 2013 and prove it was just a fluke. There is no better way to get that taste out of their mouth than to move to 4-2 and take the division lead away from the Colts. The three point spread for the road team should also be a slap in the face to the Texans. I predict a game that goes down to the very end and potentially the first close Thursday night game we have had in a few weeks.
Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Houston is playing some good ball and nobody is taking notice. This game should be a pick'em at worst. It won't come easy, but I believe the Texan's knock off Andrew Luck and the Colts who had to travel on a short week. Look for J.J. Watt to come up with a big play that ends up being the gamechanger. This guy is PRIME-TIME!. PICK: Houston plus the points!
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