Texans morning huddle: Who does Madden pick to win?


It’s an early game day! Or night, as the case may be. The Houston Texans get a chance to climb back into the AFC South race as well as an opportunity to erase the biter taste of a slow start to the year tonight. Hosting the Indianapolis Colts in primetime would be the perfect time to make a statement that all is not lost on the year.

To get you ready for gamely, the morning huddle brings you all things Texans football, including what the popular game Madden NFL has to say about who will win tonight. Enjoy;

Football 101: Forget Xs and Os, this is about team – by John Harris, HoustonTexans.com

"Each week, I typically sit down with oodles of game tape and find something that I can put together in an X’s and O’s Football 101-type article. It never fails that I can find something, anything interesting to write about that occurred on the field.I can’t do that this week.Well, I mean, I can but Thursday night really has nothing to do with X’s and O’s and football stuff.Cliché though it may be, this one is about team.It’s not about the 46 guys that’ll wear the pads on Thursday night. It’s not about Bill O’Brien and the coaching staff. It’s not about the thousands of fans that paid their hard earned money to support this team.It’s about all of us.When the Lombardi Trophy is handed to the winner of the Super Bowl, it doesn’t say J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. It doesn’t say Bill O’Brien, coaching staff and the rest.It says Houston Texans. Think about that for a second.Houston. It’s where most of you reading this right now reside. It’s where you drive to work, earn a living, bought that jersey or came out to see Duane Brown at his Tuesday night radio show. It’s the 713 or the 281 or the 832. It’s the beach. It’s the country. It’s you.I walk through this building every single day and I know everyone in it. Sure, it’s easy to spot J.J. Watt and Arian Foster. But, the people around me have a role as well. The person a row of cubicles over from me sky jumped from the top of NRG Stadium in a blue suit and a bull’s mascot head to get you fired up. Another person a few doors down has called every single Texans game in team history and is the best voice in the National Football League. My office mate has produced Emmy winning television shows and helps tell the story of the guys you see every Sunday. Around the corner is the sales and marketing teams that never stop working to help create raving fans.We are all Houston Texans.As a senior in college, I knew my football career was running short and I was really ready for it to all be over. We weren’t very good and had only two wins through seven games at that point. Our second to last home game of the year was against Harvard. The Crimson’s head coach was retiring at the end of the season, so our head coach went out early to make a presentation to him. So, instead of our head coach giving us a pre-game pep talk, it was one of our assistant coaches."

Madden Matchup: Texans vs. Colts – by Eric SanInocencio, HoustonTexans.com

"Have we started another Madden curse?After seeing the results of this week’s simulation, I sure hope not.Welcome back to our weekly Madden Matchup, where we use the popular game Madden 16 to preview our upcoming contest. As you all know, Andrew Luck (we think) and the Indianapolis Colts are coming to town on Thursday, facing off against the Texans in a pivotal AFC South matchup. A win for Houston means a chance at first place. All the bad emotions from the loss in Atlanta can be erased rather quickly.Now, back to this new curse. So far, Madden’s predictions are 0-2. While the first game was close score-wise against Tampa Bay (Madden predicted a 20-10 game, it was actually 19-9), last week against Atlanta was way off. Not only did their predicted team lose (Houston) but the final score was 44 points off. Was the matchup against the Falcons an abberration or the start of a trend? Let’s hope it’s the former.In the virtual world, the Indianapolis Colts are pretty good. Madden 16 gives the Colts an 87 overall ranking, which puts them eight points higher than the Texans (see below). Indianapolis is the 5th highest ranked team in the game, behind only the Patriots, Packers, Broncos and the Seahawks.We assumed that Andrew Luck was under center for tomorrow night’s game in our simulation, and if he is, he’s obviously one of the best in the actual National Football League. So, it is only makes sense that he’s one of the best on the game. Luck’s 90 overall rating is the 10th highest. The former Houston high school star has one of the game’s strongest arms as well, checking in at a 95 in that category. Ironically, one of the arms stronger than Luck’s in the game belongs to Texans starter Ryan Mallett (96). So, Luck’s injury not withstanding, I guess we should expect a ton of high velocity throws at NRG Stadium on Thursday.When it comes to top end talent, the Texans and Colts are actually pretty similar. According to Madden 16, both teams have five players with 90 or better rankings. J.J. Watt’s 99 rating is the best individual mark on either team. You can see the rest of the top players on the two teams below."

Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts 2015: Prediction, Betting Odds, Preview For Week 5 Thursday Night Matchup – by Greg Price, International Business Times

"The Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, with a storm of coverage surrounding Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The 26-year-old, who has been dogged by inconsistent play this season, missed the first game of his professional career last week, and with speculation that he had a partial shoulder subluxation.ESPN reporter Mike Wells reported that a source had denied that the injury was that severe, claiming there was “zero truth” to the reports. On Tuesday, Luck stated that he’s “preparing to start and to play” and that he’s “better every day” after he took the majority of snaps in practice. Head coach Chuck Pagano said he thought Luck looked good and that he had suffered no setbacks.“If I’m playing, I do not expect to be hindered,” Luck said.A great deal hinges on Luck following Indianapolis’ slow start. The Colts entered the 2015 season as one of the favorites to come out of the AFC. They dropped their first two games to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets and would later squeak out wins over the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars by a total of five points.Luck, a three-time Pro Bowler, has completed just 56 percent of his passes and has seven interceptions. In 2014, he threw 40 touchdown passes, and this season he only has five.But Luck could be poised to bounce back in Week 5. He has fared well against the Texans, throwing 14 touchdown passes to three interceptions and owns a 5-1 record against the division rival. Pagano welcomes Luck back after receiving a scare from the lowly Jaguars on Sunday.Veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who made his first start since 2012, completed 30 of his 47 passes for 282 yards and one touchdown. But the Colts needed an Adam Vinatieri field goal to escape with a 16-13 overtime win at home."

First Glance: Texans vs. Colts – by Drew Dougherty, HoustonTexans.com

"The Texans (1-3) play their first divisional game of 2015 on Thursday night, and they do so against the Colts (2-2). Here are five key storylines to follow in tomorrow night’s showdown at NRG Stadium.1. Run it- The Texans have to run the football. There’s no way around it. Bill O’Brien has said so. The players have said so. And it’s something the Texans have done fairly well against the Colts since 2010.“We just have to be more balanced and really stick with the running game through four quarters and for 60 minutes,” the head coach said.Arian Foster’s return from a groin injury saw him get eight carries for 10 yards in the loss to Atlanta. In his career against Indianapolis, he’s gashed the Colts for 6 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns. That type of effort could go a long way towards helping the Texans post their first win against Indy since December of 2012.Foster is happy to be back at NRG Stadium, and would like to have a big performance for the Texans’ faithful.“Yeah man, I love the fans,” Foster said. “Hopefully we can put on a show. I see a good defense and we would like to score points against them.”2. Stay clean- The Colts are the worst in the NFL at turnover differential. The Texans are the second-worst. Those two stand at minus-9 and minus-6, respectively.Indianapolis has coughed up the ball 12 times through the first quarter of the season, while the Texans have committed eight turnovers.Neither defense has registered the takeaways they’d like to, and some of that’s been a result of plain old bad luck.“I think bounce of the ball has something to do with it, because it bounced our way last year,” defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. “This year it’s not bouncing as often our way. We’ve gotten our hands on a couple balls, but last year when we got our hands on the ball, it resulted in turnovers for us.”The Texans were the NFL’s best in 2014 at takeaways, with 34 on the season. They were tied for second in turnover differential as well."

Next: Indy's weakness revealed!