Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/27/12
The Houston Texans controlled their own destiny 3 weeks ago going into a Monday night match up against the New England Patriots on the road. The Texans had to win at least 2 of its final 4 games to clinch the AFC South and the top seed in the playoffs in the AFC. The Texans have only been able to get half of that done so far and now face a Indianapolis Colts team with nothing to lose of gain while the Texans basically must have this win to secure their top spot. The Texans who have lost 2 of the last 3 games know they need this win to make sure the road to the Super Bowl goes through Houston and Reliant Stadium this season. The Texans will need a big contribution from Arian Foster once again against Indy to win this game. The Texans cannot let the Colts get a bigger lead than maybe 10 points on them this Sunday. Winning games in the NFL is tough, it’s even tougher to win them on the road and playing from behind. Last week when the Texans lost to the Vikings at home 23-6 the offense was horrible. That cannot be the case this week going against the Andrew Luck and the Colts.The Texans must look to bounce back from the loss against Minnesota and play like the team that’s won 12 games this season and have only lost once on the road. Texans QB Matt Schaub had this to say about the upcoming game against the Colts: “We still have everything in front of us. We’re excited about putting everything behind us & moving forward.” In the week 15 match up between the Texans and Colts the offense moved the ball pretty well all game but wasn’t able to translate it into TD’s. They’ll need to get the ball in the end zone this week early and often. Luck and the Colts have shown on many occasions already they can come back from large deficits and beat good teams. If the Texans want to stay away from that happening they should take a lead and hold onto it using the RB’s Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Justin Forsett. Foster left the last game against the Vikings early with an irregular heartbeat but is expected to start this week after seeing a cardiologist and getting the okay. Foster has had some monster games against the Colts since joining the Texans as an undrafted free agent. He had 165 yards off of 27 carries, and had a 25 yard TD taken away because of a holding call. WR Andre Johnson had a great game in the last meeting as well catching 11 passes for 151 yards and 1 TD. I would think the Colts would use the same game plan as before, stop Foster and let the rest come. If that’s the case Johnson might have another big game along with TE Owen Daniels. Whether it’s JJ Watt or not, this Texans defense will need to pressure Luck this Sunday to slow down this Colts offense. The Texans defense has allowed 2 1oo yard rushers this season and 1 of them was the Colts Vick Ballard. I don’t see that happening against this defense. In the last meeting between these 2 the Texans were focused on stopping Andrew Luck and the Colts young WR group from beating them vertically. The plan will be the same this week with a few changes to stop the run keep Luck in the pocket. When Luck was under pressure against the Texans he was running up in the pocket quickly avoiding the pass rush. If the Texans are going to stop this passing offense they’ll have to keep Luck in the pocket longer for chances to get after him. A key will be the play at the NT position on passing downs. Pressure up the middle seems to really bother Luck and the Texans rarely get that with Shaun Cody. I think we’ll see more of Earl Mitchell this week, he’s quicker and a better pass rusher than Cody is. DE JJ Watt will be chasing the sacks title this week against the Colts as well,Watt’s at 20.5 right now and need 2.5 sacks to break the record. In the last meeting against the Colts Watt got 1 sack on QB Andrew Luck. The Colts offensive line is banged up so moving Watt around will help with getting him mismatches along the line. If the Texans are going to win this game they’ll need to pressure Luck, whether it’s Watt or someone else on the team. Colts RB Vick Ballard ran for over 100 yards on this Texans D last meeting. They must stop the run and force longer 3rd downs for Luck and that Colts offense.  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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