Texans vs. Colts: Staff predictions Week 5

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Sep 27, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) and nose tackle Vince Wilfork (75) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Childers, Staff writer

Game: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Prediction: The Houston Texans have not gotten off to a hot start this season. At 1-3, Houston needs a spark to get their season on the right track or they may well find themselves on a downward spiral for the rest of 2015. Unfortunately, they are trying to get this spark against the division-leading Indianapolis Colts.

Playing on a short week, Houston has a lot of changes to make following a 48-21 embarrassment to the Atlanta Falcons, a game the Texans were never really in. The Falcons are having an outstanding season though, and the Colts have been a bit of a disappointment so far this season. They are atop the division, but that is with a 2-2 record and includes two big losses to the Bills and Jets and two very close wins against the Titans and Jaguars.

On papaer, the Texans seem to be more talented than either the Titans or Jaguars, and this should mean good things for the team this week. Ryan Mallett is playing in the biggest game of his career, because if he continues to struggle he almost certainly will lose his starting job. Arian Foster should also play better than he did last week, as he looked a bit rusty in his 2015 debut. Now he should be fully healthy, get a full week of practice, and be prepared to run all over an Indianapolis defense that gave up 105 yards to rookie TJ Yeldon last week.

That being said, if Andrew Luck plays this week I expect him to have the best game of his season against a weak Houston secondary, and the Texans offense will not be able to keep up. It’s still not clear if Luck’s shoulder will be healthy by Thursday though, and if he can’t play then the Colts offense will not be much better than Houston’s. Quarterback Matt Hasslebeck lead the Colts to only 1 touchdown last week, and Houston’s defense should be better than Jacksonville’s

Although Luck appears to be improving, I still do not expect him to play Thursday night, which will give Houston a huge boost at home. Every player will have to be at their best to compete with Indianapolis, but they all know this is a must-win game, and I expect them to come out strong and play efficiently. If Luck plays, this will be a different story, but Houston should be able to find some rhythm and pick up their second win of the season in a defensive battle.

Final Score: Texans 13, Colts 10

Next: Colts weakness revealed