Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Houston Texans (5-3 SU, 4-3-1 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, Week 9 NFL, November 8, 2009, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. TV: CBS
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Texans +9/Colts -9
Over/Under: 48

The Houston Texans have an opportunity to reach the playoffs for the first time in their history. At 5-3, the Texans are in second place in the AFC South and have a chance to give the Indianapolis Colts their first loss of the season.

But the Texans got a huge blow on Sunday when TE Owen Daniels left the game with a knee injury and could be out for the season. Daniels was arguably the best tight end in the NFL this season and was helping to make quarterback Matt Schaub look like a Pro Bowler. To complicate things even further, Steve Slaton fumbled for the seventh time this season and was benched after just one carry. Ryan Moats replaced him and ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Now, the Texans will use three running backs - Slaton, Moats and Chris Brown.

Schaub leads the NFL in passing yards with 2,342. He also has 16 passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. Daniels is gone, but Schaub still has his top target, wide receiver Andre Johnson, who leads the league in receiving yards with 697. Players like Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones will now have to step up even more.

The Colts are 7-0 mainly because of the rejuvenation of Peyton Manning. Other than Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, Manning is throwing to a bunch of no-names. He has made Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie into household names. Manning has 2,227 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. Wayne is right behind Johnson with 689 receiving yards on 51 catches, seven more than Johnson. Clark has 46 catches for 584 yards. In the backfield, Joseph Addai is having a mediocre season with 336 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

The Colts are coming off an 18-14 win over the 49ers, in which they needed a late halfback toss pass from Addai to Wayne for the game-winning touchdown. Prior to that, the Colts had won their last four games all by at least 17 points. The Colts have just one win over a team over .500, a 31-10 win at Arizona. The Texans also have just one win over a team over .500 - a 28-17 win at Cincinnati.

These two teams are very similar. Both have lived through their passing games. Schaub and Johnson are having career seasons. Daniels was as well, but his loss will certainly hurt the Texans. Manning has been incredible this season, as have Wayne and Clark. Meanwhile, neither team is running the ball particularly well. The Texans certainly have issues right now in their backfield. The Colts have been turning the ball over less than and been playing better defense than the Texans. This game will come down to which team can better stop the opposing team’s passing attack. The Colts are seventh in the league in pass defense, allowing 180.1 passing yards per game. They’ve allowed only three passing touchdowns, while intercepting seven passes. The Texans are allowing 213.3 passing yards per game. They’ve allowed nine passing touchdowns and have come away with six interceptions.

The Colts have only defeated the Texans by more than six points in one of the last five meetings between these two teams. The Colts are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games. The total has gone under in six of the Colts’ last nine games. The Texans are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games. They are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games. The total has gone under in four of the Texans’ last five games.

Ryno’s Pick: This will be a battle of the quarterbacks. Both teams will be airing it out and trying to score a lot of points. The Texans have scored at least 24 points in all but two games, and the Colts have scored at least 27 points in all but two games. The over/under is only 48 because both teams have been going under a lot lately. But that has a lot to do with the level of competition both teams have faced. Neither team has an elite defense. This should be a shootout, and the over is a great play. But the Texans are an even better play. The Texans usually play well against the Colts. They have a lot of confidence right now. Not having Daniels will hurt, but Schaub will get all of his receivers involved and keep the Texans in this game. Take the Texans +9.