An AFC South showdown will be among the action in Week 15 of the NFL season, as the 9-4 Indianapolis Colts will host the 4-9 Houston Texans. It was just two weeks ago when the Colts defeated the Texans 26-20 in Houston in their first meeting of the season.
Here's a look at both teams, along with a free pick. Indianapolis is a 7.5-point favorite at home in this one.
The Texans' brutal stretch to open the season resulted in a 1-6 record, pretty much taking them out of playoff contention early. They played better later on after firing head coach Bill O'Brien, but have lost their last two, including a 36-7 defeat to the Bears last week. Houston now just hopes to play spoiler with three games to go.
With quarterback Deshaun Watson still putting up strong numbers, Houston is fifth in passing yards per game. However, they're only 17th in the league in total yards per game with 375.5, thanks to a league-worst rushing offense. Their imbalanced offense results in 22.7 points per game, 23rd in the NFL.
Defensively, the Texans are next-to-last in rushing yards and total yards allowed per game. They also rank 24th in passing yards allowed, as well as 25th with 27.6 points allowed per game. As a team, they have 31 sacks but a league-worst three interceptions.
The Colts have been steady and consistent in 2020, winning two or three in a row before dropping a game. That's holding true recently, where after falling by close to 20 to the Titans in Week 12, they have followed it up with two nice wins on the road. Now tied for first in the AFC South with three games left, Indianapolis seems destined to return to the postseason at the very worst.
With veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and rookie running back Jonathan Taylor, Indy is top-five with 28.6 points per game. They also average 384 yards per game, 12th in the NFL, aided by a top-10 passing game and league-average running game. However, the Colts are under 40 percent on third down, sitting 24th in football.
On the flip side, the Colts are giving up 23 points per game, 12th in the NFL, while also having a top-five defense when it comes to yards allowed. They give up fewer than 100 rushing yards per game as well, ranking inside the top-five. Furthermore, Indy has just 28 sacks but a whopping 15 interceptions as a team.
The Texans are 4-9 both ATS and straight up while being 2-5 in both on the road as well. The Colts have given them fits, going 1-4 straight up against Indy in their last five matchups and 0-5 ATS. Houston has also won just three of their last 18 games in Indianapolis as a franchise.
Speaking of the Colts, their 8-5 record ATS nearly matches their 9-4 record overall. They're also 3-3 ATS at home compared to 4-2 overall. As a whole, Indy has covered in four of their last five games, each of them wins. They're 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against division rivals in the AFC South.
In the last meeting between these teams a couple of weeks ago, Rivers threw for 285 yards, Taylor threw for 91 yards on 13 carries, and T.Y. Hilton reeled in 110 receiving yards. Expect more of the same on Sunday, where Indianapolis will bring a balanced offensive attack to a defense that has been betting gashed in recent weeks. Even if 7.5 points is a little steep and Watson can certainly keep Houston in the game, look for the Colts to cruise to a win.
Pick: Colts -7.5