After a tough loss on the road to the Seattle Seahawks, the Houston Texans return home to take on a divisional foe in the Indianapolis Colts. The return home will be welcome after a heartbreaking loss in a hostile environment. The Texans are 3-4 and desperately need a win to contend for a playoff spot. This week is the perfect opportunity to get a win and get back in the playoff hunt.
The Indianapolis Colts rank 27th in the NFL in passing yards per game with 196.8 and 19th in rushing yards per game with 99.5. The Colts offense is not exactly a proficient unit, scoring 17.8 points per game which ranks 25th in the NFL. Colts starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been sacked a league high 29 times while completing 60.4 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and four interceptions. Brissett will never be confused for Andrew Luck, that much is clear however he is more than capable of making a play when called upon.
The Indianapolis rushing attack is centralized around aging veteran Frank Gore who has rushed 110 times for 404 yards and two touchdowns. Marlon Mack has contributed as well, rushing 43 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Jacoby Brissett has rushed occasionally, 32 times for 135 yards and three touchdowns, but the main ballcarriers in Indianapolis are Gore and Mack. Last week against the Cincinnati Bengals Gore led with 16 carries, Mack had 11 carries and Brissett had one carry.
Defensively, the Colts are allowing the second-most passing yards per game (295.5), 14th most rushing yards per game (116.4) and the most points per game (30.8). Even with the offseason additions of Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo, the Colts still rank 20th in sacks with 16 on the season. With seven interceptions and five fumble recoveries on the year the Colts rank 12th and seventh in the league respectively. The Texans lead the league in points per game (30.7) and this bad news for the lackluster Colts defense.
The relative lack of success on the defensive side of the ball for the Colts is a welcome sight for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson put up historic numbers against the vaunted Seahawks defense. The matchup against the Colts this week could provide another prodigal performance. Watson completed 19 of 30 passes for 402 yards, four touchdown and three interceptions while rushing eight times for 67 yards. Watson is ready to take advantage of a defense that is susceptible to getting beat.
DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller continue to make plays for the rookie signal caller and this past Sunday was no exception. Hopkins made highlight reel catches all game long accumulating eight catches for 224 yards and one touchdown. Fuller had his best game of the season, hauling in five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Fuller keeps scoring touchdowns at a ridiculous rate, seven touchdowns on 13 catches, which is a ratio that does not seem possible.
On the defensive side of the ball it is a different story. Houston still has issues and after Jeremy Lane failed his physical and returned to Seattle, the situation is not any better. Houston allows the 11th-most passing yards per game (238), ninth-fewest rushing yards per game (96.6) and fourth-most points per game (26.9). The attempt to acquire Lane could have fixed their pass defense and potentially allow fewer points per game but it was not meant to be.
Houston needs to win this week if they want to make the playoffs this year. Barring a winning streak at the end of the season, a Wild Card berth is out of the question as they currently are ninth in the AFC so the only option is winning the division. The good news is that the AFC South is a cluttered mess where the current leader is the Tennessee Titans at 4-3, so a division crown is still in play. A Texans win and a Titans loss puts Houston in the lead as they currently hold the tiebreaker over Tennessee. A win is a must this week and it appears it could be coming the Texans way at a time when they really need it.
Follow James Mastrucci on Twitter @Jimmmitude