Both the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts are flat out desperate for a win, and each one will do whatever they can on Sunday when they face off at Reliant Stadium Sunday. The Colts are coming off the bye week at 1-2, and have not looked like the Colts that the rest of the NFL has had to fear over the years. If there was something about the Colts you could count on at the start of the year was a fast start – but not this season.
They struggled vs the Bears, had to rally vs the Vikings, and blew a late lead at home to the Jags. Now they have to face a Texans team that sits at 0-3 and is as hungry for a win as any team in the league. Houston played their best game of the year in 08 last week in Jacksonville, but blew a late slim lead and then couldn’t stop the Jags in OT in a heart wrenching loss.
Can the Colts start to look like the team that the league has come to expect? It can start this week with Peyton Manning and the offense getting back to form. Manning, who missed all of training camp, has been shaky at best. They have put up 249 yards per game in three games, but have had to rally in two of them, and are hoping to be a little more stable with the WR core and Joseph Addai getting going more with the running game, which is only averaging 64 yards per game – worst in the league.
The defense for the Colts has also been a letdown, as they are 23rd in the league, allowing 340.3 yards per game. They need to be more aggressive, and that is going to be hard without Bob Sanders, who will be out yet again due to injury. Dwight Freeney and that line needs to start pressuring the QB more, and the secondary also needs to start stepping up. It’s down to that, or the Colts will again have a tough day vs Matt Schaub and the Texans improving offense.
Houston realizes that overcoming an 0-4 start is going to be next to impossible. They also know that the Colts are team on the ropes. Look for Schaub to attack with guys like Andre Johnson as well as leading pass catcher so far Owen Daniels. Rookie back Steve Slaton is hoping his running mate Ahman Green will be back, and they will look to get over the 100 yards per game they have averaged the first three weeks.
It’s a game that could define the season for both teams. Houston wants to prove their slow start is over, and they can get on track. The Colts think they are a team that has simply been beaten up by injuries, and they are still a team that is going to have to be dealt with. The Colts have been here before, and they should take care of business – barely – again on Sunday in Houston.