This week, I got a chance to exchange some questions with Texans' blogger Claire Mullins, part of the wonderful team at State of the Texans. I had a few questions for her in regards to this week's matchup, playing a Texans' team that we haven't seen matched up against this year's Colts squad. She gave us some great, detailed answers, and allowed me to share some opinions as well. You can see my answers to her questions here. See her insight after the jump!
In terms of which has been more potent, the passing offense is currently ranked 10th after quite an ugly showing in New England. The rushing attack is ranked 8th. Matt Schaub looked uncharacteristically lost much of the Patriots game and WR drops were a huge issue. If this doesn't improve, expect to see Foster, Tate, (and possibly Justin Forsett, too? Texans fans HOPE!) in the backfield to carry the load. Since the Colts are ranked 13th in both passing and rushing defense, it seems the Texans would go with the more proven option.
Our secondary was easily outmatched, but having been a fan of Houston football for longer than I care to admit, I can't ignore the mental aspect of the 2012 losses. When the national media starts expecting a Houston football team to win, the team comes out looking bewildered and lost. I was at the Green Bay game and watched the New England game closely. More than once, I asked myself - "Who ARE these guys in the Texans uniforms?" Inconsistency in a big spotlight isn't going to lend well to advancing in the playoffs.
On offense, I can see Ben Tate finally getting the opportunity to unleash on the Colts' given he sees more playing time. He carried the rushing game early in 2011 when Foster was out and was quite successful. When Tate was on the field against the Patriots last week, the offense looked faster. His one cut running style and willingness to run into and past defenders compliments Foster and makes the running game multi-dimensional.
On defense, Whitney Mercilus could be the guy to watch. The rookie has had limited snaps, but with Brooks Reed being hurt, expect to see the sack machine more often. In two games, 3 sacks. In very limited snaps, 6 sacks on the season. He's so quick off the edge and with his sack (the only sack on Brady in week 14,) he ties the Texans rookie sack record.
The Texans will be angry, at Reliant, in a divisional day game. Those are pluses for my guys. However, the Colts are playing for something: they win, they're in the playoffs. The Colts seem to overcome many deficiencies by sheer will alone. That is cause enough to me for concern. I think the rest of the Texans fan base is really confident in a victory. I think we WILL win, but there's always the chance in a divisional game against a Colts team on the upswing, coming off a really ugly loss, the Texans could surprise and disappoint. That being said, I think the Texans bring the angry and win by more than a touchdown.
Thanks again to Claire for being willing to participate!