6 Things To Watch For In Thursday's Colts Texans Game
Time to say farewell to some great Colts.
Last week, the Colts finally broke through with a win. This week, they take on division rivals the Texans in the final home game of the year. Here's what to watch for tonight...
1. Watch for tears. There is potentially a long list of Colts greats playing their final home game in blue tonight. Whether that list stops with Reggie Wayne and Gary Brackett, I don't know, but the odds are strong that Dallas Clark, Manning, Brackett, Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Robert Mathis, and even Dwight Freeney may not be back in 2012. It's going to be an emotional night, even if Reggie is the only Colt to go (and that seems inevitable at this point). Head out to the Luke tonight. Tickets are cheap, and you may not get another chance to see some of these men in blue and white until their Ring of Honor ceremonies.
2. Watch for nonsense. I'll take the bait. Kravitz wrote calling for the dismissal of the Polians today. This is from the same guy who called not playing Dan Orlovsky "tanking". Kravitz's piece contains phrases like, "The record this year hasn't been kind. The numbers are there. The mistakes are manifold. We don't really have to lay them all out here, do we?". In other words, if I don't actually point to specifics but talk in generalities, it looks like I have a case. Mostly, his piece is filled with innuendo and complaints about how the team deals with the media. He tries to tie it all in with Caldwell and the coaching staff, who are unquestionably a big part of the problem. He asks who would want to come and work in Indianapolis, and I would point to someone like Jeff Fisher who would be a massive improvement over Kravitz's suggestion of Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. In the end, there was nothing new to see here. Just the same old stuff repackaged in a new disguise.
3. Watch the division winners. The Texans have had an incredible defensive turnaround this season under Wade Phillips. The good news is they won the AFC South. The bad for them is that they may not win another game this year, and the 'Wade effect' basically vanishes after a year. The Texans won their first three games with T.J. Yates, but as their own injuries pile up, some of that magic is likely to wear off. I think the Texans have hit their peak, and will finish 10-6 before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
4. Watch for No O. Dan Orlvosky didn't throw a pass after the 9 minute mark of the 3rd quarter on Sunday, and that's exactly why the Colts won. He was terrible in the first half, managing just one first down throw (which Garcon fumbled away), and spraying the ball all over the place. Once the Colts took the lead, they went to the offense I've been begging for since week 1: they just ran the ball. The fewer times Orlovsky throws, the better it is for the Colts. The coaching staff's inability to mask the horrid play of the QBs this year has been the single biggest fail possible. Instead of hiding Collins, Painter, and Orlovsky, the Colts coaches put them on full display 30-40 times a game. It looks like they've finally learned their lesson. Too little. Too late.
5. Watch the improvement. The Colts defense has looked more coherent in the last couple of games, and when you look at the numbers even for the season, you see some interesting things. By DVOA, the Colts defense is just about on par with the Patriots defense. Hardly suprirsing, but look who else is in the bottom 8. The Packers. The Saints. The Colts method of building an entire team around the quarterback is being mimiced around the league. Those teams have amazing offenses, but almost no defense. The fact is that for all the Colts defensive problems this year, they aren't that much worse than some of the major Super Bowl contenders this year. They lack a playmaker in the secondary, but over all getting rid of Larry Coyer was the first step toward repairing what should have merely been a bad defense, not a 'worst defense in the leauge' defense.
6. Watch for angst. I think the Colts win tonight and get people seriously worried about the #1 overall pick, as they should be. I actually think Indy will win the final three games and wind up with the #3 overall pick. I think now that the coaches have figured out that they need to run and do it with Don Brown, the corner will be turned. The whole narrative on this season is about to change. Colts 17 Texans 7.