NFL Wild Card Preview: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

On Saturday afternoon, the Indianapolis Colts will travel to Houston to take on the Texans in the first round of the NFL playoffs. The Colts come in at 10-6 and got in via the wild card. The Texans are 11-5 and won the AFC South Division. Both teams won on the other teams home field this season with the Texans winning 37-34 in Indianapolis and the Colts winning 24-21 in Houston.

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Colts, Texans Try to Keep Wins Coming

The Colts are coming off a 33-17 win at Tennessee last week to earn a spot in the playoffs. Quarterback Andrew Luck had a solid game going 24 for 35 for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns versus just 1 interception. Marlon Mack also had a good game in this one, turning 25 carries into 119 yards and a touchdown. Mack also lost a fumble in the game. Dontrelle Inman was surprisingly the leading receiver for the Colts, catching 5 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. T.Y. Hilton caught 2 balls for 61 yards before going down with an injury and is questionable for the game with an ankle injury. Eric Ebron added 60 yards and a touchdown on 4 grabs.

The Texans are coming off a 20-3 victory over the Jaguars last week which clinched the division. The offense was relatively quiet in this one, as quarterback Deshaun Watson went 25 for 35 for 234 yards and didn’t have a touchdown or an interception. However, Watson was the leading rusher for the Texans with 66 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Lamar Miller has the only other Houston touchdown, turning 17 carries into just 56 yards. Deandre Hopkins was unguardable in this one, catching 12 passes for 147 yards. A big key for Houston was taking care of the ball as they only had 1 turnover which came on a Deandre Carter fumble.

Both Teams Bring Average Strength

The Colts have been pretty good on both sides of the ball this season, and they have won 9 of their last 10 games after a rocky 1-5 start. The offense ranks 5th in the league in points and 7th in total yards with 27.1 and 386.2, respectively. Andrew Luck has been excellent, as the Colts are averaging 278.8 passing yards a game and 107.4 rushing yards a game, which is good for 6th and 20th in the NFL. The defense has been good but not great this season. They are 10th in the league in points allowed with 21.5 a game and are 11th in total yards allowed with 339.4 a game. They allow 237.8 passing yards each game, which ranks 16th, and allow 101.6 rushing yards a game, which is 8th in the league.

The Texans have ranked in the middle of the pack on both offense and defense all year long. The Texans are 2-2 in their last 4 following a 9 game winning streak in the middle of the year. The offense hasn’t been spectacular but have done enough to win games this year. They are 11th in points per game with 25.1 and 15th in total yards a game with 362.6. They average 236.3 passing yards a game and 126.3 rushing yards a game which ranks 17th and 8th in the NFL, respectively. The defense has bent but not broken this season. They are giving up 343.1 total yards a game which ranks 12th. They allow 260.4 passing yards a game which is 28th in the league and 82.7 rushing yards a game which ranks 3rd. Despite allowing a ton of passing yards, the rush defense has held them in tact and has helped them keep opponents to just 19.8 points a game which is good for 4th in the NFL.

Texans vs. Colts Prediction

Houston comes in at -1. Both teams have had great seasons after tough starts. These teams are evenly matched, but I think the home crowd will be a huge advantage in this one. The Houston fans will come out loud for this opening playoff game and should give Andrew Luck and the Colts offense trouble. I think the Houston offense will be able to move the ball enough to get points and they should come out victorious in this one. Take the Texans -1.

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