Woo-hoo! I blew another game! About halfway through the first half, I was scared that I was going to be right. But instead, the Texans buckled down and vanquished the Chiefs down the stretch to enter the bye week at 4-2.
The offensive emergence of the Texans in the last few quarters was really something to behold. Andre Johnson looked better than he has for weeks, and Owen Daniels is also starting to come on strong. With Duane Brown back from his suspension, the offensive line will get better in the run blocking game, which is a scary thought for opposing defenses. Particularly ones like the Colts (4-2), who have the 30th ranked run defense as far as Football Outsiders' DVOA is concerned and are now starting someone named "Aaron Francisco" at strong safety. Texans optimism is at an all-time high with Dallas Clark lost for the season and Austin Collie and Joseph Addai also likely to miss the game with injuries.
So how will Frank Bush go about mucking this up?
WHEN THE TEXANS ARE ON DEFENSE
The area that really concerns me about this defense right now is the pass rush. We all knew the Texans secondary was likely to be bad, but over the past couple of games, the Texans defensive line has not done much of anything as far as on the ball pressure goes. Mario Williams' injuries have forced him onto the side of a milk carton, and shockingly the young Amobi Okoye has failed to pick up the slack for the ends for the fourth straight season. The Colts should have their offensive line situation sorted out a little better than they did when they last faced the Texans, and the absence of Connor Barwin will again be felt. That said, this is exactly the same Colts line that the Texans went up against in Week One and dominated, and coming off a bye week the motors should be running high.
The loss of DeMeco Ryans isn't likely to be felt in this game due to the nickel situations the Colts usually aim for. However, because this Colts team is missing so much of it's core offensive weapons, it would not at all be surprising if they tried some non-Coltsian tactics. Either way, look for Bush to try and take Reggie Wayne away and give Pierre Garcon and (presumably) Anthony Gonzalez or Blair White the chance to beat them. And look for it to be more successful then it probably should unless the Houston pass rush brings their best. You can't count the Colts out as long as #18 is back there slinging it.
WHEN THE TEXANS ARE ON OFFENSE
The Texans will look to emulate Opening Week's "Run Arian Foster right down their throat" plan. It will succeed. Although probably not on the same level it did in the opener when the Colts were totally unprepared for it. But look for the Texans to try and control the clock and go for the odd play-action bomb. The Colts offense is completely built to beat the pass right now, and if you can take Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis out of the game plan, their defense can be whipped.
The Colts will likely give Andre Johnson the same treatment they gave him in the first game, meaning it'll be up to Jacoby Jones to redeem himself. He had two or three enormous drops in the first game that kept the Colts in it, and if Schaub can reliably go to him, Johnson, Daniels, and Kevin Walter, I don't see much hope for the Colts to stop the Texans short passing attack. As long as Kubiak and Dennison keep it simple and keep Schaub out of the way of Freeney and Mathis, this game shouldn't be too difficult for the Texans offense, which looked awesome against Kansas City..
Dare I say I'm optimistic about this game? As long as the Colts offense doesn't come out with anything too confusing, I like the Texans odds to spring the road upset. Look for the Texans to take this one, 27-24.