Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Offense Analysis
It’s an all-AFC South showdown between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts to begin wild-card weekend on Saturday. To say this one didn’t seem likely in the early stages of the season would be a gross understatement. After all, Houston started the 2018 campaign 0-3 and Indianapolis was saddled with a seemingly insurmountable 1-5 record through six weeks. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the Colts vs. Houston Texans Offense Analysis
But with Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck running their respective shows from under center, neither team was ever out of it. Watson led the Texans to the division title with an 11-5 record that included a nine-game winning streak. Luck helped the Colts snag the final wild-card spot with a 10-6 mark—9-1 in their last 10 outings. How will Watson and Luck fare on Saturday? Let’s take a look to get a better idea of the answer….
Although Indianapolis could use a little bit more balance, its office is a well-oiled machine for the most part heading into the postseason. The Colts are seventh in the NFL in total offense at 386.2 yards per game (sixth in passing and 20th in rushing).
Andrew Luck is hype af for the playoffs yall. pic.twitter.com/N7BpCM8dID
— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) January 2, 2019
Luck won’t win NFL MVP, but he has been one of the league’s best dating back to when his team kicked off its out-of-nowhere hot streak. More than half of Luck’s interceptions (eight of 15) were thrown in the first six contests of the year. Since that point, the former Stanford standout has 23 passing touchdowns and only seven picks. Luck threw multiple scoring strikes on an incredible 13 occasions during the regular season, including four three times and three six times. In a win-or-go-home battle between the Colts and Titans last week, Luck completed 24 of 35 passes for 295 yards with three TDs and one INT en route to a 33-17 road victory.
Although Indy does not boast a 1,000-yard rusher, Marlon Mack (908 yards) is also riding into playoff action on a wave of momentum. He went for 139 yards during a 23-0 Week 15 rout of Dallas before churning out 119 yards at Tennessee. Mack has scored five touchdowns in the last four outings. As for the offensive line, it surrendered an NFL-low 18 total sacks this year.
These teams are not particularly similar from a stylistic standpoint, making Saturday’s matchup especially intriguing. Houston’s primary calling card is defense, so it will be strength (J.J. Watt and company) vs. strength (Andrew Luck and company). And while Indianapolis does most of its damage via the airwaves, the Texas are more of a running team.
📺: CBS https://t.co/FxaXHqc7cW
— NFL (@NFL) December 23, 2018
And on that note, don’t sleep on their offense just because it’s the defense that hogs headlines. Watson is a dual-threat quarterback who has amassed 551 yards worth of keepers, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt. Running back Lamar Miller almost reached the 1,000 mark (973 yards) while producing 4.6 yards per carry. Both Watson and Miller found the endzone five times during the regular season. With his arm, the former Clemson star has added 26 more scores while keeping his interception count in single-digits (nine). Watson has not been picked off a single time since Week 11 and he has been interception-free in nine of his last 10 games.
Indianapolis is a more solid unit because of its offensive line. Houston has a higher ceiling, however, because of its ability to run the football and thanks to Watson’s dynamism. In order to reach that potential on Saturday, however, the Texans must keep Watson upright. They have given up a league-worst 62 sacks this season.