Colts Game Previews: Wild Card Playoff @Texans

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Dec 9, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron (85) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

Man, writing that title feels good. For the first time since the game we don’t talk about in 2015, the Colts will be playing on the biggest stage again. This season has gone about as well as anyone could have asked for. As the hottest team in the NFL, this team could be far from done. Facing a familiar foe in the Houston Texans, the Colts will look to take the season series and advance to the divisional playoff, where they’ll face the Chiefs in Arrowhead.

Colts

Out

WR Ryan Grant (Toe)

DT/DE Tyquan Lewis (Knee)

Questionable

S Clayton Geathers (Knee)

WR T.Y. Hilton (Ankle)

WR Dontrelle Inman (Shoulder/Finger)

WR Zach Pascal (Knee)

DE Jabaal Sheard (Knee)

S J.J. Wilcox (Ankle)

Also Listed

T Anthony Castonzo (Knee)

TE Eric Ebron (Rest)

WR Daurice Fountain (Ankle)

S Malik Hooker (Hip)

C Ryan Kelly (Neck)

LB Darius Leonard (Ankle)

LB Anthony Walker (Shoulder)

RB Jordan Wilkins (Knee/Ankle)

TexansO

Questionable

WR Keke Coutee (Hamstring)

RB Buddy Howell (Hamstring)

Also listed

ILB Dylan Cole (Wrist)

NT Brandon Dunn (Ankle)

C/G Zach Fulton (Hand)

S Andre Hal (Ankle)

WR DeAndre Hopkins (Ankle)

CB Jonathan Joseph (Neck)

G Senio Kelemente (Knee/Rib)

ILB Benardrick McKinney (Heel)

S Justin Reid (Wrist)

DE J.J. Watt (Elbow/Knee)

Key Matchups

Colts’ Offensive Line vs Texans’ Defensive Line

Last season, this matchup is one a weak Colts’ offensive line would dread. This season, the story is different. The Colts’ offensive line is a new unit and has conceded the least amount of sacks of any line this season (18). The Colts’ offensive line hasn’t been fully healthy for a while, with Ryan Kelly and Mark Glowinski dealing with injuries.

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Against the Texans in week 14, Kelly did not play. The Colts only allowed two sacks, which is good, all things considered. This time, the entire line will be healthy and Mark Glowinski should be at full strength, as he did not look great last week in Tennessee. Against J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus, the line needs to be on their A-game in order for Andrew Luck to move the ball and for the run game to get going.

T.Y. Hilton vs. Texans’ Defense

T.Y. Hilton owns Houston. Playing injured in week 14 at Hilton Stadium, T.Y. burned the Texans’ secondary for 199 yards on nine catches. He has a history of dominance in Houston as the Texans’ defense simply has no answer for his speed, quickness, and impeccable timing with Andrew Luck. Hilton has been playing on a bad ankle for weeks now and has been playing well. He will need to keep up his play in Houston to help the Colts’ offense succeed against a good Texans’ defense.

Projection

As I said last week, this could be my last preview of the season. I hope it’s not but I had a blast this season nonetheless. However, I don’t think this will be the last preview I write this year. The Colts are as healthy as they have been all season and are coming into this game riding heavy momentum. I expect this game to be very close but see the Colts pulling it out, advancing to the divisional round.

30-29 Colts

Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.

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