NFL on Sling: Colts' Luck Will Be Too Much for Texans' Diminished D

Oct 16, 2016 by Sling Staff

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) vs. Houston Texans (3-2)
8:30pm ET on NBC (where available)

For all their faults – the terrible O-line, the underfunded defense, Andrew Luck’s ridiculous beard – the Indianapolis Colts should run roughshod over the Houston Texans and move into a tie with them atop the AFC South.

Things in Indy are so rosy that general manager Ryan Grigson two weeks ago blamed the Colts lousy defense on the quarterback Andrew Luck. “When you pay Andrew what we did, it’s going to take some time to build on the other side of the ball,” Grigson said on Jay Mohr Sports. And to be honest, the defense is bad, giving up the second-most yards and yards per play in the league, and they’ve been called for the most penalties for the most yards, which certainly doesn’t help.

Luck put up some impressive numbers last week against the Chicago Bears, completing 28 of 39 for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he was sacked 5 times for 24 yards, and now leads the league in both categories with 20 and 126. Oof. In the words of head coach Chuck Pagano, the O-line has got to get better.”

And so perhaps no one is more relieved than Luck by J.J. Watt’s decision to forgo the remainder of the season and instead undergo back surgery. With a diminished Watt in the lineup, the Texans gave up 17.7 points on 277 yards per game while going 2-1, since then they’ve given up 25.5 points on 335 yards a game while going 1-1. The dude’s a difference maker.

With the Texans' D suddenly giving up and extra touchdown a game, the offense is gonna have to step up their game, which thus far has consisted of scoring just 16.4 points per game, tied for last in the league. To be fair, the Texans’ only losses this year came against two of the five best teams, the Patriots and the Vikings, against whom they scored a grand total of 13 points. In their other games they’ve averaged 23 points, just above the league average.

But there’s no getting around the fact that five games into his tenure in Houston, Brock Osweiler is exactly who the Denver Broncos thought he was when they let him leave via free agency: at best a game manager QB. Osweiler has completed just 58% of his passes for only 1133 yards, with 6 TDs and 7 INTs, and his 5.0 adjusted yards per attempts, which takes into account lost yardage from sacks, ranks 29th.

It would be a more tenable situation if there were a ground game, but the Texans leading rusher is Lamar Miller with just 371 yards and 0 TDs on 101 carries. In fact, you’re mom is tied for the team lead in rushing TDs, as no one on the entire squad has run one into the end zone.

The Texans simply don’t have enough weapons to exploit Indy’s weak defense, and the Colts have Luck and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton to stretch the Watt-less Texans D to its limit.

1pm ET on FOX (check local listings) San Francisco 49ers (1-4) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-2)
Los Angeles Rams (3-2) vs. Detroit Lions (2-3)
Carolina Panthers (1-4) vs. New Orleans Saints (1-3)
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) vs. Washington Redskins (3-2)

4:25pm ET on FOX (check local listings)
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (3-1)
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) vs. Seattle Seahawks (3-1)

8:30pm ET on NBC
Indianapolis Colts (2-3) vs. Houston Texans (3-2)

FOX and NBC are available to Sling Blue subscribers in select markets.

All stats courtesy ESPN and Pro Football Reference.

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