Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts Matchup Preview (12/20/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The Texans have won just one of their last five and two of their last eight appearances against their division rival in the Colts. Earlier this season, Indianapolis earned a 26-20 victory over Houston. That happened just a couple of weeks ago, and it was a part of a hot streak by the Colts in which they have won four of their last five games. Indianapolis now sits at 9-4 and is tied with Tennessee at the top of the AFC South, although the Titans currently hold the Colts’ tiebreaker. Indy will be hungry for a win over Houston to pressure Tennessee in the AFC South. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, December 20th, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
TV Coverage: CBS
Texans vs. Colts Live Stream
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Houston Texans: WR Brandin Cooks (foot) Q, CB John Reid (neck) Q, CB Phillip Gaines (knee) Q, TE Pharaoh Brown (concussion) Q, DT Brandon Dunn (hip) O, S J. Reid (thumb) O, LB Dylan Cole (back) IR eligible to return, LB Brennan Scarlett (forearm) IR eligible to return, RB David Johnson (COVID-19) IR
Indianapolis Colts: CB Xavier Rhodes (knee) Q, LB Darius Leonard (back) Q, P Rigoberto Sanchez (illness) O, LB Jordan Glasgow (COVID-19) IR
Houston Texans Analysis
Deshaun Watson had been on a torrid pace with 15 touchdowns to no interceptions through a six-game stretch, but he’s thrown for just 1 touchdown and 1 interception across the last two games. Watson did complete 70% of his passes against the Bears last week, but he threw for just 219 yards and led the Texans to just 7 points against the Bears. He still ranks 4th in the NFL with a passer rating of 109.4 and has thrown 25 touchdowns to 6 interceptions this year, but he’ll need to step up his game to help the Texans beat the Colts.
Of course, Watson’s lack of productivity over the past two weeks isn’t entirely his fault. Will Fuller had 53 catches for 879 yards and 8 touchdowns through 11 games this season, a 16-game pace of 77 catches for 1,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, Fuller was ruled out for the rest of the season with a PED-related suspension. Brandin Cooks leads the team with 57 catches for 784 yards and 3 touchdowns through 12 games, but he missed the game last week with a foot injury. Without those two receivers, the Texans had minimal support for Watson, and their offense stalled out.
David Johnson leads the team with 113 carries for 452 yards and 4 touchdowns through nine games, a 16-game pace of 200 carries for 804 yards, and 7 touchdowns. He missed last week’s game after being ruled out with a COVID-19 close contact tracing. He’s expected back this week, but the Colts allow just 99.2 rushing yards per game, the fifth-fewest in football. The Texans will need to get David Johnson back this week as Duke Johnson is averaging just 3.1 YPC and has largely been ineffective.
The Texans’ offensive line has had another troubling season, and the team’s inability to keep Watson upright is a real concern moving forward. Houston has allowed 3.1 sacks per game this season, the fifth-most in football. As a team, the Texans are rushing for just 3.9 YPC, the seventh-lowest rate in the NFL. Laremy Tunsil has been stellar at left tackle, but the rest of the offensive line has struggled this season. Houston will need to heavily reinvest in the offensive line moving forward to protect their massive investment in Watson.
Defensively, the Texans have struggled this season, to say the least. They are allowing 406.6 yards from scrimmage per game, the second-most in the NFL, and 27.6 points per game, the 8th-most in the NFL. J.J. Watt remains a stalwart on the defensive line, but the rest of the front seven has been nonexistent as the Texans are allowing 152.3 rushing yards per game, the second-most in the NFL. Houston’s secondary has also struggled, especially with some of their recent injuries. The Texans allowed Mitchell Trubisky to lead the Bears to 36 points last week.
Houston Texans Depth Chart
Indianapolis Colts Analysis
Philip Rivers has been awesome lately as he now ranks 11th in the NFL with a passer rating of 97.4. He’s thrown for 11 touchdowns to 2 interceptions over the past four weeks, and he now has 20 touchdowns to 9 interceptions this season. Against the Texans a couple of weeks ago, Rivers completed 77.1% of his passes for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns to zero interceptions. Rivers’ raw stats may not be overly impressive, but his efficiency and game management have helped the Colts get out to their 9-4 start.
The Colts have gotten receiving production from a ton of different players this season. Nyheim Hines leads the team with 51 catches for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Jonathan Taylor has added 31 catches for 286 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield. T.Y. Hilton has caught fire lately as he has 17 catches for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns over the past three weeks. He has dominated against the Texans throughout his career, so he’s easily the biggest threat for Indianapolis this week. Zach Pascal and rookie Michael Pittman Jr. and tight end Mo Alie-Cox, Trey Burton, and Jack Doyle give the Colts a very deep receiving corps.
Indianapolis has also produced a solid rushing offense this year. Jonathan Taylor leads the team with 168 carries for 759 yards and 6 touchdowns through 12 games – that’s a 16-game pace of 224 carries for 1,012 yards and 8 scores. Nyheim Hines has added 74 carries for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Jordan Wilkins has 84 carries for 308 yards and a touchdown this year. The Texans have allowed the second-most rushing yards per game in the NFL this season, so I’m confident in the Colts’ running backs’ ability to produce.
The Colts’ offensive line could be the best in the NFL this season as they have allowed just 1.2 sacks per game, the third-fewest in the NFL. Indianapolis’s offensive line has also allowed the running backs to produce great numbers. The 5-man unit of Anthony Costanzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski, and Braden Smith has developed some strong chemistry together. The continuity of that unit has made them a real strength for this team.
Indy’s defense has been one of the best in the league this year as they’re allowing just 327.1 yards from scrimmage per game, the sixth-fewest in the NFL. They’ve also allowed just 23.1 points per game, the 12th-fewest in the NFL. The Colts have allowed just 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions this year, and they are allowing just an 84.8 passer rating, the fifth-lowest in football. Their secondary has been terrific this season between Xavier Rhodes, Kenny Moore II, Rock Ya-Sin, Khari Willis, and rookie Julian Blackmon. Rhodes is questionable for this week, as is linebacker Darius Leonard, the two most important defensive players for the Colts.
Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart
Spread: Colts -7, Texans +7
Moneyline: Colts -330, Texans +270
Over/Under: 51 points
The Colts have covered the spread in 7 of their last 10 games and all 3 of their last games against the Texans. With the Colts’ offense very consistent as of late and their defense one of the best in football this year, it’s hard to bet against them with the Texans struggling as much as they have. Indianapolis’s run game should dominate in this game behind their elite offensive line and against the Texans’ run defense that has been exposed all year. I’m taking the Colts to cover and putting a slight lean on the over.
My predictions: Colts win 31-23, Colts cover, over 51 points
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Deshaun Watson has struggled as of late without Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks, and he’s set for a difficult matchup against the Colts, who allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Indianapolis hasn’t allowed much across the board defensively, so I’m avoiding most Texans players in DFS this week. Houston has allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points per game to running backs on the flip side, so Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines can be great plays this week. Additionally, T.Y. Hilton could continue his recent hot streak with a great game against the Texans, who he has excelled against throughout his career.