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Houston Texans: The best plan to beat the Colts in the Wild Card game

Nathan Jones

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The Houston Texans will have a lot on their plate with a Wild Card playoff matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. What’s the most sound game plan to beat them? Take a look at the things that will matter this Saturday.

The Houston Texans are playoff bound!  This weekend, the Houston Texans will face their division rival, the Indianapolis Colts in what will most likely be a slug-fest between two star-studded squads.  Entering the playoffs at 11-5, Houston is set to make their fifth playoff appearance since the inception of the franchise in 2002.

These teams met back during Week 4 and Week 14. The Texans won the first match in overtime with a field goal, and lost the second game by a late field goal.  Against the Colts, Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson has played very well. He averages 321 passing yards and has thrown three touchdowns and one interception.

Houston Texans

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

Though Watson was exceptional in those games, Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck was better. Luck averaged a whopping 432 yards and threw six touchdowns and one interception against the Texans.

Ahead of this even matchup, the Texans open up as 2.5 point favorites. 

This game is likely to come down to the wire.  Many of Houston’s sports fans will be either be in NRG Stadium cheering on the team, or sitting at the edge of their couch.

If the Texans are to win, they must do two things:

  1. Minimize Luck and T.Y Hilton connection.
  2. Protect the football.

Minimize Luck and T.Y Hilton connection

I use the word “minimize” on purpose. The chances that the Texans can lock down T.Y Hilton are very low.

Hilton is no stranger to Texans’ fans. Hilton has a history of burning this team. In his 14 career games against the Texans, Hilton has caught 76 passes for 1,445 yards and nine touchdowns, per Pro Football Focus.  Within this past season alone, he has gone off for 314 yards.  Just when you begin to get comfortable on defense, Hilton will burst down the middle of the field and catch a dime by Luck.  At any moment, Hilton can break a game wide open.

Watch how T.Y. Hilton gets open for a crazy gain against cornerback, Johnathan Joseph.

The Texans like to play Cover-3 in long yardage situations. This is not a good game plan against a speedy receiver and a top-five quarterback. This scheme ultimately leaves Joseph “on an island” against one of the most explosive receivers in the league.

Joseph predominantly plays on the left side of the field. Hilton usually plays the majority of his snaps on the left side of the field but against the Texans, they play him more on the right side. This means the Colts try to expose Joseph’s age with Hilton’s speed.

The Texans may consider playing more Cover-2 in the Wild Card game if they want to slow down the Colts’ passing game.

Protect the football

This game is likely to be a high scoring affair.  Coughing up a fumble or an untimely interception could turn out to be the nail in the coffin for Houston, so they better take care of the football.

Houston has the second-best turnover differential in the league. Their turnover differential is +13.

In Week 4, Watson tried to throw to wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins but his pass was intercepted. Luckily in that game, the Texans’ defense was able to hold up and not let the mistake turn into points.

However, in a playoff atmosphere, with so much on the line, you have to let Luck touch the ball as little as possible.

The Colts also possess one of the most talented linebackers in the league. Linebacker Darius Leonard might be the rookie defensive player of the year. He has notched 163 total tackles (a Colts’ franchise record), seven sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception, per NFL.com.

He is arguably the best player on the Colts’ defense.

Watch how he forces a fumble against the Tennessee Titans:

Leonard is delay-blitzing. He will spy the quarterback for a few seconds, then as the defensive line opens up a whole, Leonard drives in and records a sack-fumble.

Leonard does this stuff all the time.

The Texans have given up the most sacks in the entire league (62). So facing a player like Leonard is not ideal.

If the Texans can establish a run, which they have done well all year, they can run more play-action. This might be the best way to protect Watson.

It is also will give Watson more opportunities to pass down the field.

Colts’ safety Malik Hooker, though not the greatest tackler in the league, is extraordinary in coverage. Hooker gives up only one reception per 131.3 snaps. He also has given up only one touchdown all year. 

Who caught that touchdown you may ask?

None other than DeAndre Hopkins.

In the red zone, Watson scrambled left and threw on the run to a wide open Hopkins in the back of the end zone.  Perhaps Watson’s greatest attribute is his mobility and his innate trait to keep his eyes downfield. Maybe the Texans can utilize that this week.

There are a lot of key matchups to watch out for against the Colts. If the Texans can have good ball security and limit T.Y. Hiltons big play ability, they might find themselves in the divisional round next week.

Do you agree with my assertions?  What’s the best game plan to stop the Colts? Feel free to comment in the section below.

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

I’m a student at Texas A&M University, Class of 2022. I am a statistics major who enjoys talking about football as well as backpacking and hiking. I've come to like the Texans out of a pure respect for the franchise. The fan base is strong and players like J.J. Watt inspire me daily. Do not test my Madden NFL skills. Follow me on Twitter @natn03

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Brian K. Patterson

Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans.  After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.

The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.

DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.

While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.

Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.

In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.

His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.

An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.

Ronald Darby and Lamarcus Joyner are the best players available in free agency that can cover receivers in the slot and both players should be targeted by Bill O’Brien.

The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment in the section below.

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans?  Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season?  Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant.  What’s the best way to improve the offensive line?  Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?

How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard?  The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time.  What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Le’Veon Bell and plethora of free agent running backs

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season?  They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue.  Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish.  Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility?  Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?

The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move.  Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL.   What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

 

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