Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
Vegas: HOU -1.5
DomModel: HOU +2.828
Recommendation: IND +1.5
-WR TY Hilton (ankle) did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, but will play in the wildcard round.
-WR Ryan Grant (toe) was injured week 17. He is OUT for the wildcard round.
-TE Jack Doyle (kidney) has been placed on IR, effective 11/26.
-C Ryan Kelly (neck) was injured week 16. He was INACTIVE week 17. He was limited in practice on Tuesday, then practiced in full on Wednesday. He should return for the wildcard round.
-DT Al Woods (leg) was injured week 15. He is on IR.
-DE Tyquan Lewis (knee) was injured week 17. He did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday.
-S Clayton Geathers (knee) was INACTIVE weeks 16 and 17. He did not practice on Tuesday, then practiced in full on Wednesday.
-WR Will Fuller (torn ACL) was injured week 8 and is on IR.
-WR Keke Coutee (hamstring) was INACTIVE weeks 13 – 17. He is practicing in full and should be healthy enough to return or the wildcard round.
-WR Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) was injured week 16. He is on IR.
-RT Seantrel Henderson left his week 1 game with an ankle injury and has been placed on IR.
-NT Brandon Dunn (ankle) was INACTIVE weeks 16 and 17. He was limited in practice on Tuesday, then practiced in full on Wednesday.
-CB Kevin Johnson suffered a concussion week 1. He has since been placed on IR.
-CB Jonathan Joseph (neck) was INACTIVE week 17. He was limited in practice on Tuesday, then practiced in full on Wednesday.
When Indianapolis has the ball:
In the offseason, the football world were rightfully freaking out over Andrew Luck’s shoulder concerns. In the beginning of the season, nobody would shut up about Luck’s low aDOT. Or how the Colts brought in backup QB Jacoby Brissett to throw a Hail Mary in their week 3 game against the Eagles.
HE ISN’T THROWING THE HAIL MARY? HOW CAN YOU WIN WITH A QB WHO CAN’T THROW A HAIL MARY?!?!?!
Now here we are, finishing off a regular season where Luck threw more passes than anybody in the league not named Ben Roethlisberger, and threw more touchdowns than anybody not named Patrick Mahomes. In one score games, the Colts are the second most pass-heavy offense (65.3%, per PFF). Luck completed 67.3% of his passes for 4,593 yards (7.2 ypa), 39 TDs, and 15 picks. He is PFFs 4th highest graded quarterback.
Translation? Andrew Luck is fucking back, baby.
Luck has lead the Colts offense to 5th overall in weighted DVOA – good for 10th best passing offense and 13th best rushing offense. They have a top 5 offensive line, and should get difference maker C Ryan Kelly back. Luck also tends to get rid of the ball quickly, which should help mitigate the dominate pass rushing trio of JJ Watt (75 pressures/17 sacks), Jadeveon Clowney (59/9) and Whitney Mercillus (42/5)
At receiver, TY Hilton is yet again the top man for the Colts – he put together an impressive 76/1,270/6 line this season. Also featured is TE Eric Ebron, who has the 4th most end zone targets (17) and 2nd most touchdowns (13) in the entire NFL. The Texans have been inconsistent at corner, and that’s why they only sit at 18 in pass defense DVOA.
On the ground, the Colts will primary lean on Marlon Mack with Nyheim Hines as the change of pace/third down back. Mack is averaging a cool 4.7 yards per carry on the ground, but he’ll have his work cut out for him against a Texans defense that ranks 1st overall in DVOA.
TL;DR Conclusion: As they have all season, the Colts will rely on Andrew Luck to put up points against the Texans.
When Houston has the ball:
Deshaun Watson plays behind an offensive line that is straight up bad, and he holds onto the ball like he has en emotional attachment to it. To no surprise, Watson has been under pressure more than any QB this season – but he’s put up an impressive 88.2 QB rating when under pressure, which is best in the league. Indianapolis also has a non existent pass rush, which sets up a spot where Watson can stay comfortable playing his game.
Watson is going to be primarily relying on DeAndre Hopkins, who was arguable the best wide receiver in the league this year. Hopkins put up over 1,500 yards and caught 11 TDs. Behind Hopkins should be slot man/rookie Keke Coutee. Coutee has been battling a hamstring injury and hasn’t played since week 10, but he’s practicing in full and should be good to go. It’s worth noting that the hamstring has been a constant issue for Coutee – the last time he played the Colts he was coming off a hamstring injury, and he was targeted 14 times, catching 11 balls for 109 yards. All in all, the Texans rank 13th in pass offense DVOA and are against a Colts pass defense that ranks 20th.
On the ground, the Texans will be feeding Lamar Miller, but don’t expect much. Though Miller has put up 4.6 yards per attempt this season, the Texans rank 26th in run offense DVOA and are against a Colts run defense that ranks 4th.
TL:DR Conclusion: Both teams should be far more successful throwing the ball rather than running it. Expect fireworks.
That’s it for now, bitches.