Houston Texans (7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (9-4 SU, 9-4 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date and Time: Sunday December 14th, 2014. 1:00PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, I.N.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +7/IND -7
Over/Under Total: 49
A big AFC South showdown will take place this Sunday when the Houston Texans go into Lucas Oil Stadium to battle the Indianapolis Colts. This game has huge implications for both teams as the Colts could clinch the AFC South with a victory to secure their playoff spot. While the Texans certainly do not want to concede the division crown, they really cannot afford any losses. At 7-6 SU with a host of playoff contenders currently at 8-5, the Texans would be nearly eliminated from the playoffs with a loss this Sunday putting the team in a must win scenario.
Currently the Colts are listed as 7 point favorites at most betting shops as Andrew Luck and T.Y Hilton will get to take aim at one of the NFLs worse pass defenses. Luck threw for 370 yards with 3 touchdowns in the 33-28 victory at Houston back in October and most expect the Colts quarterback to have another big day this time around as well. Wide receiver T.Y Hilton is coming off a big outing last week against Cleveland where he caught 10 passes for 150 yards with two touchdowns. In the first meeting against Houston, Hilton toasted the Texans secondary for a career high 223 yards. Considering Houstons struggles in stopping the pass this season (28th in NFL), rest assured Hilton and Luck will look to make plays down the field again in meeting No. 2.
Luckily for Houston fans, the Texans are playing much better than they were earlier this year. The team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road trips and 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The main objectives towards keeping Houstons playoff hopes alive this week is finding ways to get defensive stops on 3rd down and getting the ground game going on the offensive side of the ball. The Texans captured 5 sacks and All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt returned a fumble for a touchdown in the last meeting against the Colts. However most of the defensive highlights in that game came a little too late. The Colts jumped out to a 24-0 lead before the Texans rallied in the 2nd half to close the gap.
This week Houstons defense must get off to a good start and not let the team get behind. The Texans offense is not designed to play from behind with quarterback Fitzpatrick. However the offense can be very effective when they are able lean on running backs Arian Foster and Alfred Blue. Foster returned from his groin injury last week to post 127 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars. Considering the magnitude of this Sundays game, expect the Houston offense to lean on Foster rather heavily. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is only two weeks removed from that huge 6 touchdown performance against the Titans so any additional support the passing offense can provide will help the cause.
However the ultimate determining factor of this weekends game will likely reside on the other side of the ball for the Texans. It is imperative the Houstons defensive front gets pressure on Luck and gets stops on 3rd down. Houston does not have the talent in the secondary to hold up if Luck is able to check down through his options. Therefore it is imperative that Houstons defensive front plays big in this game to give the team a shot at the upset and an opportunity to stay alive in the playoffs hunt.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If this game were in Houston, I would pick the Texans in an upset outright. However the Colts will have the home field advantage. Still, I think Houston can contend in this game as I expect Arian Foster to have a strong performance. Barring any huge turnover woes, I think Houstons defense will rise to the occasion and give the offense the opportunity to win the football game. I like this one to stay close. Take Houston +7!