Before the Game – Colts at Texans

The Indianapolis Colts travel to Houston to face the Texans in a week 1 division matchup.

Sunday September 12, 2010 – 12:00pm CST – TV broadcast on CBS – Comcast 11 (Houston)

What to Watch -

  • Peyton Manning  vs the Texans defensive backs. Manning can pick apart almost any defense. Will the Texans finally have a combination that works?
  • Arian Foster is he tries to give the Texans a true running attack. The Texans will need him to get up to speed quickly, so he better be ready.
  • The Texans defensive line as they go up against a questionable Colts offensive line. If they Texans want to win, they’ll need to pressure Manning.
  • The Texans offensive line as they try to fend off Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The best defensive end duo in the NFL will need to be slowed down if Schaub wants a chance.

Position Comparisons -

Texans
Colts
QB
RB
WR
TE
OL
DL
LB
DB
SP

The Game -

The media seems to always label these games as the “most important game in franchise history”, and it seems to happen every year. Sure, this game is important, but it wont break the Texans season. Surly you want to get off to a fast start if you support the Texans because past history has shown slow starts and good finishes by the team. But if the Texans want to make the playoffs, then it would be a good idea to beat the Colts seeing how those losses to them last season was the difference resulting in the team not making it into the postseason.

If there’s one thing that’s for sure, it’s the Texans ability to run their offense against the Colts. They always seems to get off to quick starts, but the key to finishing is to have a good run game. Peyton Manning typically gets better as the game progresses, so keeping him off the field in the later stages of the game is key. So the secret to success in this game is to load up all the fancy pass plays towards the beginning of the game and plan to pound the rock towards the later parts.

The Texans offensive line will need to block well in this game. They should concentrate more on run blocking, even though they’ll need to protect Matt Schaub against defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. If the Texans can run the ball effectively, then they wont have to worry about passing the ball too much. If you want a perfect example of this, then look at the franchise’s lone win against Indianapolis in 2006. Running back Ron Dayne ran the ball all day, totaling over 150 yards and keeping Manning off the field for a good portion of the game. And with that good running attack, quarterback David Carr hardly had to pass, and it paid off for a big win. After good running and blocking performances by the Texans in the preseason, you should expect at least a decent run game by the Texans in this game.

Something to look forward to on offense is the return of tight end Owen Daniels. After suffering a torn ACL in 2009, Daniels will be worked into the action slowly against the Colts. He’s not expected to play any more than 30 snaps on offense even though there’s the possibility they he may play more. Andre Johnson has typically not had much trouble against the Colts, so it’s not a stretch to expect at least eight catches for around 100 yards in the game. But one player that could surprise people is wide receiver Jacoby Jones. he’ll be playing a much bigger role this season as the number three wide receiver. With his play making ability, he could give the Colts defense fits while he’s on the field.

One of the biggest things I’m worried about though is Peyton Manning throwing against the Texans young corners. The Texans top 3 cornerbacks have only two years combined experience in the NFL. First round pick Kareem Jackson has looked good in all aspects of his game so far, but Manning is that ultimate test that he has not yet faced. The other starter, Glover Quin, has virtually locked down the majority of the receivers he’s been matched up against. Should this continue? Let’s hope so.

Another important aspect of this game is the Texans ability to pressure Manning. It’s usually not wise to send many more than four defenders at him, so the Texans will need a lot of production out or Mario Williams, Antonio Smith, Amobi Okoye, and Connor Barwin. If four defensive pass rushers can get constant pressure on Manning, then this game will be a lot easier for the Texans to win. If they can’t, then they will likely be playing a game of catch up.

All in all, this is a very intriguing matchup. The Texans have played the Colts very close in games over the past few seasons. The Texans are finally due for a win, but I don’t see it happening if the Texans haven’t taken big step forward. If the game does come out as a win, then it will be a great thing for Houston. I can’t wait to watch this game.

Texans lose 23-27

Topics: Amobi Okoye, Andre Johnson, Antonio Smith, Before The Game, Colts, Connor Barwin, David Carr, Dwight Freeney, Jacoby Jones, Mario Williams, Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, Peyton Manning, Robert Mathis, Ron Dayne, Texans

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