Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (10-6) won nine out of their last ten games and now face the AFC South champs, the Houston Texans (11-5), for a third time this season.

Andrew Luck
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck going deep during an AFC South divisional match up against the Titans. (Image: Andy Lyons/Getty)

The divisional foes split their regular-season series with the Colts winning their last meeting 24-21 on the road in Houston in Week 14. The Colts snapped the Texans’ nine-game winning streak and they’re seeking revenge. The Texans won their first match up in Week 4  with a field goal late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the #3 Texans are 15-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. The #6 Colts are 25-1 odds to win.

#6 Indianapolis Colts (10-6) at #3 Houston Texans (11-5)
Kickoff: 1:35pm PT
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Point Spread: Texans -1
Over/Under: 48

The Texans opened as a three-point favorite. After early money on the Colts, the line moved to the Texans as only a point-point favorite at home.

Faster Luck

After missing all last season with a shoulder injury, Andrew Luck is a sure-fire candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. Luck tossed 39 touchdowns with only 15 interceptions. He set a personal career-best completion rate with 67.3 percent and set highs in QBR and overall QB rating.

Head coach Frank Reich tweaked the Colts offense to provide quicker routes for Luck. As a result, he releases the ball much quicker and the Colts gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL with only 18.

The Colts drafted two linemen and both played a key role this season. The Colts picked Quenton Nelson with the sixth overall pick. Along with Braden Smith, the two rookie lineman found themselves in starting roles protecting Luck.

Baby Steps

The Colts improved on all areas throughout the season including the offensive line, defense, and the run game.

The Colts finally solidified their running game when Marlon Mack, a second-year RB out of South Florida, emerged as their primary rusher (908 yards, 10 TDs). He finished the season with four 100-yard games and he’s averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

Who Plays Better Defense?

The Colts allow 21.5 points per game, while the Texans allow 19.8 points per game, which is tied for fourth-best in the NFL.

The Texans boast a tough run defense, which is built to stop Mack, who only rushed for 33 yards on 14 attempts in Week 14. It’s the pass defense that the Texans need to worry about. Can Watt and the pass rush get to Luck faster than usual? Otherwise, Luck is going to have a field day picking apart their lackluster secondary.

The Colts have an underrated defense which held opponents to 10 or fewer points on five occasions. Their upstart defense rose to the occasion big time against the Cowboys when they pitched a 23-0 shutout.

The Colts have the fifth-best offense in the NFL and score 17.1 points per game. Luck’s passing offense is ranked sixth overall.

My Dear Watson

The Texans are 11th in scoring at 25.1 points per game. They have a top 8 rushing offense led by RB Lamar Miller.

The offense will live and die by DeShaun Watson (26 passing TDs, 5 rushing TDs). Watson has not thrown an interception in six games. He’s only thrown two in the last ten games.

DeAndre Hopkins (1,572 yards, 115 receptions, 11 TDs) caught 31 passes over the last three games with a 140.3 yards per game average. The Texans added Demaryius Thomas after a trade with the Denver Broncos shortly before the trade deadline. Watson now has two lethal receivers that can breakaway for a big yardage on any given play.

The Texans would love to run the table in the playoffs and win the Super Bowl in memory of Robert McNair. The founder and team owner passed away in the middle of the season.

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