(4-2, 3-3 ATS)
(4-2, 3-2-1 ATS)
The Houston Texans have never had any success against the Indianapolis Colts, particularly in Indy, where they are 0-8 lifetime. However, if they want to get into the postseason for the first time in franchise history, this is an NFL betting affair that they have to win on Monday Night Football.
The Texans are on the rise right now for certain, and they are sitting pretty at 4-2. The problem is that they are in the toughest division in football and have both the Baltimore Ravens/Pittsburgh Steelers loser and the New England Patriots/New York Jets loser to deal with for a playoff spot as well. The key men in this game are going to be DE Mario Williams, WR Andre Johnson, and RB Arian Foster. Williams had a sack and got a ton of pressure in the Indy backfield in a Week 1 win over these Colts, and he must do the same this week, or the No. 32 ranked secondary in football at 306.2 yards per game is going to be absolutely demolished. Johnson has had 29 catches for 455 yards and two TDs in his last four games and has absolutely terrorized opposing secondaries this year. Foster, the NFL’s fourth leading rusher on the season, put together the best game that a back has had all season long in Week 1 when he rumbled for 231 yards and three TDs on a whopping 33 carries. Since that point, he has tapered off just a bit, but he certainly has the ability to explode on this defense if given the chance.
For Indianapolis, the dynasty might really be on the line on Monday Night Football. We tend to believe that this team is indestructible for as long as QB Peyton Manning is calling the shots, and to an extent, that’s probably right. However, 11, maybe even 12 wins might reasonably leave someone out of the playoffs in the AFC, and risking falling to 0-3 in division is too costly to even think about. There are just a slew of pieces to the puzzle that aren’t going to be around for the Colts in this one, as S Bob Sanders, TE Dallas Clark, S Melvin Bullitt, DB Jacob Lacey, WR Anthony Gonzalez, LB Gary Brackett, WR Austin Collie, and RB Joseph Addai… all starters… could be out of the lineup. If that’s the case, Manning’s options will be severely limited. It will be up to his offensive line to protect him and the men standing in on defense to take the best shot that this physical offensive line for the Texans is inevitably going to hit it with. A win and all will be forgotten, especially if the Tennessee Titans lose to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. A loss could be catastrophic.
It’s reasonable to assess that this could be the most important Monday Night Football game in quite some time, especially if the Texans do pull off the upset and find a way to get to the playoffs. The scene is just too large for Houston, though. This team isn’t quite there yet, especially with the pieces to the puzzle that it is missing. We’ll take the points, but the outright upset won’t happen. Look for Manning to eke out a very close one to help restore order in the AFC South.
NFL Free Picks: Houston Texans +5.5