Deshaun Watson Going for First Playoff Victory
The fans at NRG Stadium will be see the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans on Saturday in the first of two AFC Wildcard Playoff games. The Texans may have saved their season with an overtime win at Indianapolis in Week 4. The Colts may have done the same by beating their AFC South rivals 10 weeks later. The rubber match for these two teams should be a good one
The Texans prevented an 0-4 start to the season by outlasting the Colts 37-34 on Sept. 30. It was a victory that spurred a nine-game winning streak and a worst-to-first finish in the division. Indianapolis avenged that defeat and ended Houston’s nine-game run with a 24-21 road victory on Dec. 9 to ignite a season-closing four-game winning streak that locked up the No. 6 seed and a third meeting with the Texans.
Andrew Luck missed the entire 2017 season due to recurring soreness following shoulder surgery, but finished with 4,593 yards and 39 touchdown passes this season. He guided Indianapolis to nine wins over its final 10 games. His favorite target is wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has been battling an ankle injury but still has his fifth 1,000-yard season. He has 1,270 yeards and burned the Texans for nine catches and 199 yards in Week 14. Tight end Eric Ebron had a career-best 13 touchdown catches, including one in each matchup versus Houston. Marlon Mack rushed for nine touchdowns and had four 100-yard outings in his last 10 games. Darius Leonard, the league leader with 163 tackles, heads a defense that did not allow 30 points over the final 10 games after surrendering at least 34 points in four of the first six contests.
Second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson had his rookie season derailed by a torn ACL in his knee. This year he dealt with a partially collapsed lung. He threw for eight touchdowns and zero interceptions and rushed for four more scores over the final six games. DeAndre Hopkins had another monster season with 115 catches for 1,572 yards and 11 scores. He finished the season with 31 receptions and three straight 100-yard games after he was held to four catches and 36 yards by Indianapolis. A late-season ankle injury cost running back Lamar Miller a shot at 1,000 yards. He managed only 82 yards and a TD on 28 carries in both games against the Colts. J.J. Watt returned from two injury-plagued seasons to rack up 16 sacks for a defense that ranked third against the run (82.7 yards) but was vulnerable to the pass (260.4).
PREDICTION: Texans 24, Colts 20
AFC Wildcard Betting Odds & Trends
|Indianapolis is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Indianapolis’s last 7 games|
|Indianapolis is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games on the road|
|Indianapolis is 5-12 SU in its last 17 games on the road|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of Indianapolis’s last 6 games on the road|
|The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Indianapolis’s last 12 games on the road|
|Indianapolis is 17-7 SU in its last 24 games when playing Houston|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Indianapolis’s last 5 games when playing Houston|
|Indianapolis is 5-0-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Houston|
|Indianapolis is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Houston|
|The total has gone OVER in 10 of Indianapolis’s last 14 games when playing on the road against Houston|
|Houston is 7-12-2 ATS in its last 21 games|
|Houston is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games|
|Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home|
|Houston is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Houston’s last 7 games at home|
|Houston is 3-8-2 ATS in its last 13 games when playing Indianapolis|
|Houston is 7-17 SU in its last 24 games when playing Indianapolis|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s last 5 games when playing Indianapolis|
|Houston is 0-4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Indianapolis|
|Houston is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Indianapolis|
|The total has gone OVER in 10 of Houston’s last 14 games when playing at home against Indianapolis|
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