With the most famous name on the list being none other than all-world defensive lineman J.J. Watt, tonight’s matchup between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts will spotlight each head coach’s ability to overcome adversity.
Without Watt, Houston’s front 7 is going to have to work extra hard to put a dent in one of the best offensive lines in pro ball. The Colts o-line has allowed opponents to sack QB Jacoby Brisset a mere 15 times this season. For comparison purposes, Texans field general Deshaun Watson has gone down in enemy hands more than twice as many times, enduring 31 sacks so far. For those doing the math at home, the Colts are averaging 1.5 sacks given up per game, while Houston is letting Watson hit the dirt 3 times per game.
Without pressure to slow down Indy’s passing attack, T.Y. “Texan Killer” Hilton will have to be contained by Houston’s secondary.
Except, pro bowl safety Justin Reid and rookie corner Lonnie Johnson have been ruled out. Speedster Bradley Roby is on the Oprah Winfrey “You get a hamstring injury and you get a hamstring injury and you get a hamstring injury” list of the Texans walking (but not running) wounded. Odds of him playing at 100% are almost nil.
Houston’s other starting safety, Tashaun Gipson, is also on the limited participation list with a back injury.
At full health, the Texans secondary had a hard time containing the Colts passing attack. With 4 of their 5 key defensive backs less than 100%, keeping Hilton in check might be impossible.
However, Hilton himself is on the list with a “freak” calf injury sustained a few weeks ago in practice. If Hilton can’t go, or can’t go at 100%, the Texans odds improve dramatically.
Last time the Colts played in Houston, TY Hilton sent a trainer out to Party City the morning of the game for a clown mask. Then he wore it, and the Colts beat the Texans by 14. Is he ready to make his return Thursday night? https://t.co/Vsh8B3cGDi
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 20, 2019
Colts running back Marlon Mack was ruled out already, giving the Texans defense a chance to show the world last weekend’s utter inability to stop a running game in Baltimore was a fluke.
Without a way to shut down the Colts passing game, Houston’s best bet will be to lean heavily on their own running game, control the clock and look to Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins to bring the magic just enough to keep the Colts defense honest.
Another deciding factor in Houston’s favor is the turnover margin. Houston is currently +1, while Indy is -3. If that ball continues to bounce the Texans way, it will certainly make up for a lack of solid pass rush.
But, if Brisset gets the ball early and often and plays mistake free football, the injury bug will bite the Texans repeatedly.
One x-factor that may work in Houston’s favor is lightning rod wideout Will Fuller V. Currently listed as a game time decision, if Fuller can go anywhere near 100%, the Texans passing attack goes from solid to unstoppable.
While it’s a shame a game with the implications of this one will be altered so dramatically by injuries, that’s part of life with the big dogs of the NFL.
The playoff implications of tonight’s tilt can’t be overstated, but the injury impact is also huge.
Current NFL playoffs picture:
1) Patriots 1) 49ers
2) Ravens 2) Packers
3) Colts 3) Saints
4) Chiefs 4) Cowboys
5) Bills 5) Seahawks
6) Texans 6) Vikings
RT if you see your NFL team there
— Mo (8-2) (@LamarHeisman) November 18, 2019
Which injury do you think will have the greatest impact on Houston’s fortunes tonight?
Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Go To Original Source