Texans Wire countdown to Colts: 10 factors to watch
WHEN: 12:00 p.m. CT
WHERE: Lucas Oil Stadium
FORECAST: Partly cloudy, 70 degrees, 2 mph winds
FOLLOW: @therealmarklane, @ChrisNallsNFL, @averydduncan, @arwoodNFL, @CotyDavis_24, @Get_Crumped, @JonFuentesMMA, @RondilMedia, @MrRadioMann
LISTEN: Sports Radio 610 [KILT-AM] and 100.3 The Bull [KLOL]WATCH: CBS (Greg Gumbel & Trent Green)
Source: 506 Sports
RED: Oakland at Green Bay
BLUE: LA Chargers at Tennessee (late)
GREEN: Houston at Indianapolis
YELLOW: Jacksonville at Cincinnati
BROWN: Miami at Buffalo
10: jacoby brissett's passing touchdowns
Through five games, that seems kind of like a mediocre number, but it is also the same number of touchdowns New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has thrown. Nine of Brissett's touchdowns have come inside the red zone, which shows that it is the short passing game that has helped Brissett play like a very capable quarterback. The Texans will have to limit Brissett's check downs and force him into scrambling or taking sacks.
9: average depth of target against the texans defense
The real number is 9.3, but rounding down makes it the number nine. Nonetheless, it is tied for the 10th-highest in the NFL. The Colts' passing game, even going back to last season with Andrew Luck, seems to be predicated on the short passing game opening things up. With a little deeper cushion to work with going against Houston, the Colts may drive the ball a little more.
8: olb whitney mercilus' rank for sacks
With his 5.0 sacks, Mercilus is tied for the eighth-most sacks in the NFL. The former 2012 first-round pick has been rather silent as of late, though the Texans defense has still found ways to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In a big AFC South contest with first place on the line, it would help Houston greatly if Mercilus could make an impact like he did in the first four weeks of the season.
7: deshaun watson's rank for first downs
Like Brissett, Watson is tied with Tom Brady in a passing category, and it's first downs in this case with 81, the seventh-most in the NFL. Watson has been able to keep drives alive for the Texans, not only with patented scrambles, but also with his arm. Watson will have to stay on his game if he hopes to generate points against the Colts on the road.
6: deshaun watson's rank for sacks taken
Even though he has not been sacked once in the past two games, Watson has been dropped 18 times, still ranking in the top-10 in the NFL at No. 6. The Texans offense has done a fabulous job of keeping Watson upright, and he has helped himself in this endeavor. More on this facet of the game later.
5: rank for touchdowns surrendered to opposing receivers
The Texans defense has given up eight receiving touchdowns to wideouts, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. It doesn't get any easier as the Texans face T.Y. Hilton, who has historically been a Texans killer. With Bradley Roby out as one of the Texans' starting cornerbacks, and even though Johnathan Joseph is suiting up, Houston has a vulnerability in this area that they will have to overcome on offense or find a way to shut it down on defense.
4: deshaun watson's rank for passer rating
The Pro Bowler has compiled a 107.9 passer rating, good for the fourth-best in the NFL. What the Texans have done well for Watson is keep him upright and allow him to survey all of his targets, and what he has done well for himself is get rid of the ball quicker and always keep his eyes downfield when evading pressure. Having a quarterback in the top-5 in passer rating has enabled to Texans to take the next step as a team to stay with any team they face on Sundays.
3: deandre hopkins' drops
The two-time All-Pro has had three drops on the season, which are uncharacteristic. Hopkins will need to shore up his hands in a big AFC South match-up such as this with the Colts. Of course, he wouldn't have those two All-Pros if he had a problem showing up in big games. Hopkins still has to be on point in Indianapolis.
2: straight games without giving up a sack
The Texans offense has not given up a sack in the past two games, a feat not seen in Houston since Weeks 1-2 of 2014. Some of that has to do with the offensive line, and some of that has to do with quarterback Deshaun Watson feeling the pressure better and making timelier decisions before the pressure can arrive. If the Texans can keep this number as close to zero as possible, they should have the help to beat the Colts.
1: colts rb marlon mack's rank for first downs by rush
The former 2017 fourth-round pick from South Florida has tallied 31 first downs on the ground this year, good for first in the NFL alongside Seattle's Chris Carson. Mack gets plenty of "dirty yards" for the Colts and finds way to turn after-contact yards into just what Indianapolis needs to move the ball. DT D.J. Reader will have to generate interior pressure and stop Mack.
WHEN: 12:00 p.m. CT WHERE: NRG Stadium FORECAST: Sunny, 91 degrees, 6 mph winds (indoors) FOLLOW: @therealmarklane, @ChrisNallsNFL, @averydduncan, @arwoodNFL, @CotyDavis_24, @Get_Crumped, @JonFuentesMMA, @RondilMedia, @MrRadioMann LISTEN: Sports Radio 610 [KILT-AM] and 100.3 The Bull [KLOL] WATCH: FOX (Kenny Albert &
WHEN: 3:25 p.m. CT WHERE: Rokit Field at Dignity Health Sports Park FORECAST: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees, 6 mph winds (indoors) FOLLOW: @therealmarklane, @ChrisNallsNFL, @averydduncan, @arwoodNFL, @CotyDavis_24, @Get_Crumped, @JonFuentesMMA, @RondilMedia, @MrRadioMann LISTEN: Sports Radio 610 [KILT-AM] and 100.3 The
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