INDIANAPOLIS – The arrival of December will see the Colts taking on a familiar division opponent twice in three weeks.
It’ll be the Colts (7-4) playing the surging Texans (4-7) this Sunday in Houston at 1:00 PM.
Here are 7 things to watch for as the Colts take on the Texans for the first time this season:
1. Make Watson Go Through Progressions
Let’s be honest, Deshaun Watson is having a tremendous season and is probably the best quarterback the Colts will see all season, not named Aaron Rodgers.
But Watson has lost 3 of his top wideouts as of late, including the big play Will Fuller (busted for PEDs this week).
The Colts have had a solid game plan for Watson in the past. On Sunday, they need to make sure he has to go deeper in his reads, as he gets used to a lot of different wideouts around Brandin Cooks.
2. Blindside Of Rivers
This topic has received plenty of attention over the past week.
Life without Anthony Castonzo has not gone well for the Colts.
If they give Le’Raven Clark another shot at left tackle this week, how much help will he get? And how much will we see J.J. Watt moving over to that side?
3. Tap Into T.Y. Magic
It is utterly absurd the amount of production T.Y. Hilton has had in his career against the Texans, especially in road games at NRG Stadium.
Hilton is averaging nearly 21 yards per catch and 12 yards per target in road games in Houston.
You have to think Romeo Crennel is going to give Hilton major attention, given that history, and that should open some things up for the Colts.
4. Reinforcements Returning
Against the Titans, the Colts were down 5 key starters: C-Ryan Kelly, RB-Jonathan Taylor, DL-Denico Autry, DT-DeForest Buckner, LB-Bobby Okereke.
Well, Kelly returned to practice this week. Taylor, Autry and Buckner have all been removed from the COVID-19 list.
That’s great, news for the Colts after the abysmal performance they had without those key guys.
5. Expose Suspensions
As we mentioned above, the Texans got some ugly news this week.
Deep ball wideout Will Fuller and cornerback Bradley Roby both are suspended for the remainder of the 2020 season. For the Indy defense, Rock Ya-Sin had to breathe a big sigh of relief when he heard the Fuller news.
The Colts need to take advantage of these surprising losses.
6. Pittman Bounce Back
After some really solid games in November, rookie Michael Pittman closed out the month with a poor performance.
He had just 2 catches on 9 targets against the Titans, recording at least a couple of drops.
With the attention likely rising even more for T.Y. Hilton this week, they need for Pittman to get back to the form we saw earlier in November.
7. Different December
For a second consecutive season, the Colts enter December looking more so like a Wild Card team, and not a division title winner.
In 2019, the Colts fell apart in the final month of the season.
How will they handle this stretch? The Colts (7-4) have little margin for error, and will play at Texans, at Raiders, Texans, at Steelers and Jaguars to close out the season.
Bowen’s Prediction: Colts 27-24. The Texans are not your average 4-7 team. Yes, they’ve had some tough personnel losses this week, but Deshaun Watson is still an incredible talent. Watson on the field Sunday gives the Texans a definite chance in this one. Now, the Colts have had pretty good success in corralling Watson. With the Colts getting some reinforcements back this week and being a desperate team needing to respond, I think they’ll squeak out a win. The Colts have yet to lose 2 games in a row this season (haven’t even lost 2 of 3 games) and I think that continues.
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