NFL Sunday Night Football Picks: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas
Sunday, October 16, 2016, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Houston -3 1/2
Current Line: Houston -3 (-105)
Opening Total: 46
Current Total: 48
Opening Money Line: Texans -165 / Colts +145
Current Money Line: Texans -160 / Colts +140

The Colts and Texans meet on Sunday night football in Houston.
The Colts and Texans meet on Sunday night football in Houston.

The 3-2 Houston Texans host the 2-3 Indianapolis Colts Sunday night in a battle for first place in the AFC South. The Texans lead the division but the Colts and Tennessee Titans are only a game behind. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars are in the race at 1-3 in a mediocre division.

The Colts lead the series 23-5 against the Texans. The teams split the series last year with each winning on the road. The Colts won 27-20 in Houston and the Texans won 16-10 in Indianapolis to snap a six game losing streak to the Colts. The teams will play again in Indianapolis December 11.

Indianapolis is coached by Chuck Pagano. The Colts have home wins over the San Diego Chargers 26-22 and Chicago Bears last week 29-23. The Colts have a home loss to the Detroit Lions 39-35, a road loss to the Denver Broncos 34-20 and a loss to the Jaguars 30-27 in London. Indianapolis led 16-13 at halftime against Chicago, but the Bears would take a 23-19 lead midway through the fourth. Indianapolis scored the last 10 points of the game to win 29-23. The Bears had 522 total yards to 396 for the Colts. Indianapolis was a 4 point favorite against Chicago and the total was 47.5. The Colts are 2-3 ATS and the total is 4-1 this season.

Houston is coached by Bill O’Brien. The Texans have home wins over the Chicago Bears 23-14, Kansas City Chiefs 19-12 and Titans 27-20. Houston has road losses at the New England Patriots 27-0 and Minnesota Vikings 31-13 last week. Minnesota jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter and never looked back as they cruised to an 18 point win. Houston had only 214 total yards. The Vikings were 6 point favorites and the total was 39. Houston is 3-2 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season.

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Indianapolis is being outscored 30-27 this season. The Colts are #7 in scoring but #31 in points allowed. Indianapolis averages 359 yards per game on offense including 269 passing and 90 rushing yards. The Colts are #8 in passing. Indianapolis allows 411 total yards per game including 301 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Colts are #30 in total defense and #28 against the pass. Indianapolis is 32/73 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 20/53. The Colts have forced 7 sacks and allowed 20 this season. The Colts are even in turnovers but have allowed 3 defensive touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Andrew Luck has completed 63.9% of his passes for 1,469 yards with 10 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and also has 15 carries for 79 yards. He is probable with a shoulder injury. He is putting up good numbers especially when you consider the offensive line can’t protect him at all. Scott Tolzien is the back-up.

Running back Frank Gore has 78 carries for 328 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also has 14 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Robert Turbin has 9 carries for 25 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 4 catches. He is probable with a wrist injury.

Receiver T.Y. Hilton has 35 catches for 507 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a hip injury. Phillip Dorsett has 11 catches for 241 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Dwayne Allen has 17 catches for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Jack Doyle has 16 catches for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns. Josh Ferguson has 19 catches for 127 yards. Donte Moncrief is out until early November with a shoulder injury. Six defensive players and four offensive linemen are on the injury report.

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Houston is being outscored 21-16 this season. The Texans average 310 yards per game on offense including 209 passing and 102 rushing. The Texans are #27 in total offense and #29 in passing. Houston allows 300 yards per game on defense including 181 passing and 119 rushing yards. The Texans are #6 in total defense and lead the league in pass defense.  Houston is 29/81 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 25/73. The Texans have forced 13 sacks and allowed 11 this season. Houston is -4 in turnovers.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler has completed 58% of his passes for 1,133 yards with 6 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 8 carries for 38 yards.He has been way too inconsistent and there are some calls from Houston fans and media to bench him in favor of back-up Tom Savage.

Running back Lamar Miller has 101 carries for 371 yards, along with 14 catches for 82 yards. Alfred Blue has 17 carries for 85 yards.

Receiver Will Fuller has 20 catches for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a hamstring injury. DeAndre Hopkins has 22 catches for 383 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Ryan Griffin has 16 catches for 136 yards. He is probable with a concussion. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz has 10 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a knee injury. Jaelen Strong has 11 catches for 85 yards.  Nine defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report. Defensive end J.J. Watt is on injured reserve after undergoing back surgery.

Indianapolis is 4-1 after gaining 350 yards or more, 17-6-1 against AFC South teams, 4-10-2 in week six, 1-4 after passing for 250 yards or more, on the road and on grass. The road team is 3-0-1 ATS in this series recently. The Colts are 5-1-1 ATS against the Texans recently. The under is 8-3 in this series recently.

Houston is 6-0 ATS against AFC South teams, 4-0 against teams with losing records and after gaining less than 250 total yards, 10-1 after rushing for 90 yards or less, 5-1 on grass, 4-1 after a straight up loss, after failing to cover, and at home, 8-3 after a loss by 14 points or more, 10-4 after allowing 350 total yards or more, 5-2 against AFC teams, 39-19 after scoring less than 15 points, 3-7 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, and 1-5 in week six.

I don’t think either of these teams are very good. The Colts are terrible on defense and quite possibly have the worst offensive line in football. The Texans struggle on offense but at least have a very good defense to lean on. Just like last year the winner of this division will be around 8-8 or maybe 9-7. I like the Texans to win a close game at home.

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