Colts @ Texans Preview : Where will the match be won and lost?

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This week's Thursday Night Football is an all AFC South affair as the 3-2 Colts travel to Houston to face the 3-2 Texans who will come out on top? Lets take a look at the key battles.

J.J. Watt v Colts Interior Line

Prior to the season the interior of the Colts offensive line looked like a point of weakness. So far this season though it has help up surprisingly well. Andrew Luck has only been sacked six times.

However, that stat comes from games against the Broncos, Eagles, Jaguars, Titans and Ravens. In terms of pass defense none of these defenses are great. In terms of yards given up to the pass the Jaguars are the worst in the league, the Eagles are the third worst, the Ravens are the fifth worst and the Titans rank 16th. The Broncos do rank just outside the top five for passing yards allowed but they have already had a bye week and much of week five's game was played against Logan Thomas.

Essentially, the Colts offensive line hasn't been tested properly yet. Against the Texans defensive line and J.J. Watt though, this will all change. The Texans defense gives up on average just 6.8 yards per passing attempt. Will the Colts offensive line hold up? Andrew Luck's body certainly hopes so. Me I'm not so sure.  

Can Arian Foster hold up?

The Texans have attempted 138 passing plays which is the fifth least in the NFL. Unsurprisingly, then they have attempted 159 rushing plays the ninth most in the league and only four behind the run heavy Dallas Cowboys.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick behind the center though it is not like Houston have much choice to be anything but a run heavy offense. The Colts rushing defense meanwhile isn't great in terms of total yardage they have given up 509 rushing yards which ranks in the top half for NFL teams.

The mainstay of the Texans offense is Arian Foster who averages 4.1 yards per carry and has taken over 50% of Houston's total carries despite missing a game due to injury. If the Colts defense can shut Foster down then they will almost certainly win. Saying is easier than doing though.

Can the Texans keep T.Y. Hilton quiet?

So far this season T.Y. Hilton has 381 receiving yards off 50 targets. He doesn't have a touchdown (much to this fantasy owners annoyance). At some point this is going to change though. With the not too impressive Johnathan Joseph likely to be covering Hilton for most of the game this could be the week that Hilton goes off and has a two or three touchdown game. Obviously, if he does this then the Colts are almost certain to win.

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Andrew Luck
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts

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