.The Colts will square off against the Texans in an AFC South battle on Sunday in Indianapolis. The Colts are coming off a blowout loss to the Bengals, while the Texans continue to lose at a historic rate. The Colts are fighting for home-field advantage, while the Texans are looking forward to the offseason. This game will come down to a division rivalry that is still alive.
Meet the Colts
The Colts are 2-3 in their last five games despite clinching the AFC South in Week 14. Indianapolis has struggled to score points over the last few games. Quarterback Andrew Luck has taken a step back after losing wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the season.
On top of the lack of offense, the defense has regressed at an extreme rate. The unit went from being one of the top squads in the league to being among the worst in recent weeks. The Colts will have to right the ship if they plan on having a long playoff run.
Meet the Texans
The Texans are essentially playing for nothing more than pride these days. Houston is the only team with a mid-season coach firing (Gary Kubiak) and seem destined to own the first overall pick in May. The Texans have a solid defense with plenty of talent, but the offense has been consistently up-and-down.
Houston needs a new starting quarterback and to stabilize their running game. The Texans have been in games all season but they have a big issue when it comes to closing out games. Houston has lost 11 straight games after starting the season 2-0.
Local Takes: Colts
Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue thinks the Colts defense has regressed badly this season:
I wish that were still the way things were.
Instead, the Colts' defense has fallen apart and it has gotten worse from where it was a year ago. Despite spending big money on free agents such as safety LaRon Landry, outside linebacker Erik Walden, defensive linemen Ricky Jean Francois and Aubrayo Franklin, and cornerback Greg Toler, plus spending their first round draft pick on outside linebacker Bjoern Werner, the Colts' defense just hasn't been very good.
Yeah, the first six weeks of the season they absolutely were. They were playing as one of the best defenses (and especially one of the best secondaries) in the entire NFL. Seriously. And then even in week seven against the Broncos, they played relatively well - despite giving up 33 points and 429 yards.
But in the second half of the season, the defense has collapsed. They have completely fallen apart at the seams.
Local Takes: Texans
Tim from Battle Red Blog is already focused on the draft (and who could blame him?):
Personally, I suppose I could handle the Texans passing on Teddy Bridgewater with that first overall pick, provided they deem another quarterback a better player than Bridgewater and select said other quarterback with that pick. Sorry, Pro-Clowney/Pro-Barr/Bridgewater Isn't Worthy Of The Top Pick camps.
If the Texans do have the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and a king's ransom via a trade offer isn't on the table, they must go QB. Truth be told, if the Texans believe the QB on the top of their board, whether it's Bridgewater or someone else, is significantly better than his draftable peers, you could even make an argument that they should turn down a trade offer.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Pagano's "throw the records out" line = Caldwell's "and things of that nature."— Brad Wells (BBS) (@StampedeBlue) December 11, 2013
2014 NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Says Texans Should Take Jadeveon Clowney Or Anthony Barr First Overall. http://t.co/m35fRtIrfZ— battleredblog (@battleredblog) December 11, 2013
I have a theory that teams that have just had the head coach fired play better in their subsequent game. Psychological bumps are not good analytics. There's also the fact that these Colts are not very good. Indianapolis is 2-3 against the spread in its last five.
The pick: Texans
The Colts are 5.5-point home favorites against the Texans, according OddsShark.
The Texans will host the Broncos in Week 16. The Colts will be on the road next week against the Chiefs.