A lot has changed since Week 1 when the Texans beat the Colts in Houston. Indy’s banged up on offense and Houston’s missing a big name or two on defense. So who’s got the advantage?
We quizzed SB Nation bloggers from Battle Red Blog and Stampede Blue to get inside answers to the Monday Nighter’s toughest questions.
David Dietz is a longtime Colts fan and contributing writer to the excellent Indy blog Stampede Blue. He tackles all the burning questions on the Colts.
Dallas Clark is done for the season, Joseph Addai and Donald Brown are both banged up, and Pierre Garson and Austin Collie aren’t practicing. We know Peyton Manning doesn’t care who he’s throwing or handing off to, but are the injury concerns on offense something Colts fans should be worried about?
What team wouldn’t be at least somewhat nervous going into a huge divisional game without their starting running back, tight end and No. 2 wide receiver? Dallas Clark is one of, if not the best, tight ends in the league. His presence forces defenses to adjust their schemes.
Same with Collie. He is among the league leaders in yards and touchdowns this season for a reason: defenses can’t seem to figure out whether to put an extra DB on him or shadow him with a linebacker. Plus defenses are already overwhelmed trying to contain Reggie Wayne, which allows Collie to roam free and put up monstrous numbers.
Finally you can’t underestimate the absence of Joesph Addai. While Addai may not have the best statistics or YPC average, he’s smart, comfortable with the offensive schemes and he is a great blocker.
So yeah, without those three guys Colts fans are nervous. Really nervous. But we aren’t panicking just yet. We have the best quarterback in the league. Manning is like a great tailor; he makes everyone look better.
The Colts can’t stop the run and the Texans have one of the league’s best rushing attacks. How does Indy avoid another monster game from Houston RB Arian Foster?
The Colts have to tackle better. They’ve played better in recent weeks, but against the Redskins they missed far too many easy tackles. That’s been their biggest weakness and, until they can sort out some of the fundamentals, they will struggle stopping the run, especially against bigger backs like Arian Foster.
Still, there is no way Foster has another 200+ yard game. Not even close.
In Week 1 the Colts let the Texans dictate how the game was played. Not this time. Even without the guys mentioned above, the Colts are going to push the pace and make the Texans play to their speed, forcing them to throw more and run less.
Which matchup do you see the Colts exploiting against the Texans?
Peyton is without several key weapons so the Colts won’t able to win one-on-one matchups based on talent alone as they have in the past. Instead, look for the Colts to accelerate the pace by employing ‘the stampede’ (similar to the ‘blur’ offense run at The University of Oregon) in order to confuse and take advantage of a very weak and inexperienced Texan secondary, which ranks last in the league in past coverage.
Final score prediction: Colts 34, Texans 20.