The turning level of the Houston Texans’ season is simple to pinpoint.
They had been 0-Three after they went into extra time in opposition to the Indianapolis Colts within the fourth sport of the season. With 27 seconds left within the additional interval, the Colts opted to go for a primary down on a fourth-and-Four play from their very own 43. Andrew Luck threw an incompletion. The Texans then accomplished a 24-yard go and kicked a game-winning subject objective on the sport’s ultimate play.
The Texans haven’t misplaced since, profitable 9 straight video games heading into the rematch in opposition to the Colts on Sunday in Houston.
The Texans (9-3) would clinch the AFC South and a playoff berth if the Tennessee Titans produce a loss or a tie in opposition to Jacksonville on Thursday and Houston follows with a win over the Colts.
Texans head coach Invoice O’Brien is intent on protecting his workforce targeted on the duty at hand.
“It is crucial,” O’Brien stated. “In all seriousness, each week’s a special matchup. The Cleveland Browns had been a very totally different workforce relative to how they match up in opposition to us than the Indianapolis Colts. Each week could be very totally different.”
The Texans dealt with the Browns 29-13 on Sunday to provide Houston the longest energetic profitable streak within the league. However O’Brien says there may be nonetheless work to be achieved.
“Yeah, I imply I do not suppose we’re getting worse,” O’Brien stated. “We had been 0-Three and we’re 9-3, so I believe we’re improved, however are we the place we must be? No. We will all the time enhance. There are such a lot of totally different areas that we will enhance in. That is what we’ll attempt to do that week.”
Quarterback Deshaun Watson and large receiver DeAndre Hopkins have been the important thing figures on offense for Houston.
After throwing seven interceptions within the first six video games of the season, Watson has thrown simply two picks whereas throwing 12 landing passes within the six video games since.
He has additionally run for 375 yards this season, though he nonetheless will get sacked lots, taking 15 sacks over the previous 4 video games.
Hopkins has 80 receptions for 1,115 yards and eight touchdowns this season, and he had a season-high 10 catches for 169 yards and one TD within the earlier sport in opposition to the Colts.
Nevertheless, the Texans’ power is their protection. They permit simply 19.6 factors per sport, which ranks third within the NFL, and so they have 34 sacks.
Their pass-rushing tandem of J.J. Watt (11.5 sacks) and Jadeveon Clowney (7.0) have mixed for 18.5 sacks this season. Watt continues to be restricted by knee issues, however he’s anticipated to play on Sunday.
The Colts rank first within the NFL by way of go safety, giving up a sack each 2.83 p.c of their go makes an attempt.
However Luck was sacked thrice on Sunday in opposition to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who not solely beat the Colts to finish their five-game win streak, however shut them out 6-0.
“Clearly we struggled and struggled lots, however you study from each sport,” Luck stated. “There’s type of the emotional a part of a sport and also you undergo that cycle — type of straight (after) the sport. However you get up the subsequent morning and also you type of put the feelings apart, the outcome apart and also you take a look at the cycle of play.”
It was the primary time in his 82-game professional profession that Luck was shut out, and he is aware of the chore will not be any simpler in opposition to the Texans.
“We may have our palms full,” Luck stated. “I do know guys are excited to get again out on the follow subject as we speak. I do know I definitely am, and work out a approach to get higher as a workforce.”
The Colts (6-6) have to get higher in a rush as a result of they’re in nearly a must-win scenario by way of their playoff hopes.
However the Colts have been in that scenario practically all season.
“We put ourselves not in must-win conditions,” Colts head coach Frank Reich stated. “That is been our mantra the entire yr and that is not going to alter. We’re a process-oriented, people-oriented workforce. We give attention to getting higher every single day. We all know that is what works, that is what’s stood the take a look at of time. That is one of the best ways to organize for this week and that is all that issues.”
With a win, the Texans will mathematically remove the Colts from division title competition. The Texans are 5-1 at residence, and the Colts are 2-Four on the street this season.
“I simply wish to win on Sunday,” Watt defined. “I simply wish to go on the market and win on Sunday. I believe it is the one-day-at-a-time mentality.”