Preview: Colts @ Cowboys

The Colts might have already clinched a spot in the playoffs but its no time to let up. Indy needs to prove that they can defeat top tier teams like the Cowboys (10-4). The Colts (10-4) have proved a lot this season and have done more then what most people expected, but the four loses so far have come againsy their four toughest opponents. This game is more than trying to gain home field advantage – it’s a statement game.

Just like always, the Colts are heading into the last part of the season short handed. Starting OL Gosder Cherilus is out along with Reitz and Thornton. T.Y. is still questionable but Pagano has said not to count on him. This means Donte Moncrief will play the biggest role of his rookie season this Sunday.

Another reason why this game won’t be a cakewalk is the fact that the Cowboys might possibly have the best offensive line that the Colts have faced all season. If Romo is going to have all the time he wants in the pocket, the secondary will have to step up. Vontae Davis is also questionable with a groin injury. If Davis cannot play this could be a huge blow to the defense.

So it looks like the Cowboys have everything going their way this Sunday right? I mean, they just beat their divisional rival and have to be feeling great about their 10-4 record. I don’t like to be the one who likes to put the matter of a situation ahead of the talent of teams but lets take a closer look. I know the Cowboys are playing pretty well this year but lets remember, we’re playing Tony Romo at the end of the season and they are riding a high into this game. By the way, even without T.Y. Hilton, the Colts still have an explosive offense led by Andrew Luck, and “Boom” Herron is finally getting the running game going.

I see the Colts struggling to stay with the Cowboys for the first half, but after they make some in-game adjustments Indy will come out with a win and an 11-4 record.

My prediction: 27-21 Colts.

Colts Defeat Texans – Crowned Division Champs

They have done it again.  The Colts are once again AFC South champions.  They have clinched back-to-back championsships and a spot in the postseason.  The Colts will have at least one home playoff game this year, which was step one of their goals.  Step two is staring them dead in the face, but there are problems.  Big problems.

The Colts took out the Texans yet again today in Indy, which improved their home record against Houston to 13-0.  Did they do it in blowout fashion?  Nope.  Did they have a shootout with the Texans?  No sir.  It was a defensive battle all game long.  Each defense tallied two turnovers but the Colts turnovers came at a time when they needed their defense to step up to the plate.  The Texans took the early lead when Kendrick Lewis picked off a bad pass from Luck and took it back for a pick-six.  That was the only turnover that Luck would account for on the day…thank God.  The Colts other turnover came at the hands of the Reggie Legend.  He caught a short pass but the ball was taken from him and ruled a fumble.

No matter the turnovers, the Colts defense kept them in the game.  In the second quarter, Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to run the ball but when he was hit by Jonathan Newsome he didn’t get up.  Fitzpatrick was taken off the field and put on a cart and taken to the locker room where he was later diagnosed with a broken leg and his season is finished.

I’m going to break from the post game report to say this one thing.  Injuries in football are a part of the game.  They are unfortunate for sure and no one likes to see an athlete get cut short one a random play.  Prayers are with Fitzpatrick, his family and his teammates.  However, bashing a player for doing his job is uncalled for and disrespectful.  Jonathan Newsome didn’t wake up and drink his protein shake and think, “I’m gonna break a players leg today.”  If you’re pissed that your team’s quarterback or any other player for that matter got hurt then be upset.  We as Colts fans would be devastated if that happened to a key part of our team.  However, don’t make an ass of yourself on social media because of your anger.

Now, back to the fun.

The Texans defense was on point today.  Give them credit for holding the best offense in the league to under 300 total yards and one of the best quarterbacks to under 200 yards passing.  However they couldn’t keep him from finding the end zone.  Twice.  Once to Hakeem Nicks and once to Dwayne Allen.  J.J. Watt did find his way to Luck today though.  Watt racked up two more sacks and added to his already impressive numbers.

The Colts defense was even more impressive today by only giving up 3 points.  Foster ran for 99 yards but couldn’t find the end zone.  Rookie quarterback Tom Savage came in after Fitz went down and did a decent job.  At least the best job he could have done.  Savage did fumble the ball early but that could have been jitters.  However, at the end of the game a terrible read by Savage turned into an interception by Vontae Davis and sealed the AFC South championship once and for all.

Boom Herron continues to do what he can with his opportunities and continues to average over 5 yards per carry and be the workhorse for the team.  As the season winds down I can see his workload getting bigger and he should be getting at least 20 rushing attempts as the playoffs begin.  If he can get 60 yards on 11 carries what could he do with another 10 carries?

The Colts still need to knock off the turnovers.  They can’t be doing that against the Cowboys or any AFC team they are going to face in the playoffs.  Herron needs to see more time and Moncrief needs to be targeted more.  I have seen on Twitter that there are people saying this team cannot win their playoff game and they will be one and done.  I do not think this is the case.  If they can get rid of the turnover bug and get back to their high powered offense that has gotten them this far then they should be in good shape.

Colts – Texans Preview

The final Colts home game has arrived.  This Sunday the Colts will be looking to accomplish a couple of things.  First, and most importantly, the Colts can lock up the AFC South which ensures a home playoff game.  Secondly, they can keep the Texans winless in Indy.

The Texans have never won in Indy, but it’s not from a lack of trying.  The Texans usually give the Colts everything they can handle.  This week will be much of the same.  The Texans game plan is relatively easy to lay out.  They will try to run the ball down our throats, which will then set up the pass.  The Texans have two very good wide receivers (Johnson and Hopkins) and two pretty good running backs (Foster and Blue).  Their defense will blitz as much as possible while NFL MVP hopeful J.J. Watt will do everything he can to wreck the Colts’ game plan.

Keys to a Colts victory:

  1. Know where J.J. Watt is at all times
    I mean at all times.  Defense or offense.  Watt has three receiving touchdowns this year.  Coach Bill O’Brien has done what he can to use his playmakers everywhere on the field.  Watt is just what Coach Pags has said – he is a game wrecker.  If the Colts allow Watt to get going and build that confidence quickly then it’s going to be a long day
  2. Set the run up with the pass
    Let me just get this out of the way.  STOP RUNNING ON 2ND & 3RD AND LONG!!!  Okay, now I feel better.  This is the time of the season where Luck and company need to get hot.  This team needs to get hot rolling into the playoffs.  It’s finally time to unleash Luck all the way and not hold him back.  It’s a sink or swim situation.  He should be able to make the calls at the line by now.  Give him a couple of options and let him go.  I’m not saying he is ready for Peyton-like responsibilities but he is ready to lead this team in every way possible.  Luck must be accurate and throw early and often to allow Herron and Richardson to their thing.
  3. No turnovers
    Yep, that speaks for itself.  No turnovers.  The turnover bug has bit this team for some reason and it’s a cause for concern.  Luck is at the middle of it which is something that is an even bigger concern.  How can the leader of the team be the one that is suddenly turnover prone? I’m not saying it’s all his fault but…it’s mostly his fault.  For the last two years Luck has done a great job of taking hits and holding onto the ball.  Suddenly, that has changed.  Have all those hits finally caught up with him or is this just a fluke thing that he will put a lid on quickly?  Whatever the case may be, the Colts have to get a handle on the ball, literally, and not give their opponents additional possessions.

The Colts usually find a way to beat the Texans and I don’t think it will be any different this weekend.  Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t someone that strikes fear into the hearts of Colts players or fans.  Arian Foster and Alfred Blue are the only real offensive threats the Texans have.  I know they have Andre Johnson but if the quarterback has a hard time getting him the ball then his production will be limited.

If Luck and company take care of the ball and capitalize on every possession then they will keep the Texans winless in Indy.

Colts: 34     Texans: 20  

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