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Texans vs. Colts: Spread Info, Line and Predictions

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts watches from the sidelines against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Chris HummerAnalyst IDecember 28, 2012

The Houston Texans (12-3) and the Indianapolis Colts (10-5) have both clinched playoff berths heading into their matchup on Sunday. But there is still quite a bit on the line for both teams.

With a win, the Texans clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. A huge deal in January contending against tough cold-weather teams like the Broncos and Patriots.

The Colts, on the other hand, don't have quite as much to play for as they're already locked into the fifth seed in the AFC. However, the Colts will have quite a bit of momentum entering this game.

After all, their coach is back.

Yep, Chuck Pagano will be back on the sidelines for Indianapolis in Week 17 after a bout with leukemia. It's one of the most inspirational sports stories of the year, and is sure to make Sunday's game very emotional for the Colts.

With home field on the line and the return of Pagano, plus J.J. Watt and Andrew Luck, this game is sure to provide some fireworks.

 

When: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

TV: CBS

Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket

Listen (radio): Free Football Radio

 

Spread: Houston -6.5 (via Football Locks)

The last time these two teams met, the Texans came away with a 12-point victory. However, expect a much closer game this time around.

Indianapolis is playing at home this time, where it is 6-1 on the season. It seems there is just something about the home crowd and the dome that gets this particular team going. Add to that the return of Pagano, and you can expect an energized group.

The Texans have the better talent. But in this game expect the Colts to cover the spread.

 

Over/Under: 46.5 (via Football Locks

The Texans average 26.7 points per game, the sixth-best mark in the league. However, they've struggled offensively the past three games, averaging only 16 points per.

Indianapolis, despite all the hype its offense receives, is only 18th in the NFL in points per game. 

The last time these two teams met, they put up a combined 46 points. But in that game the Colts offense struggled to get going for much of the contest.

Expect the group to play a little better on Sunday and stay closer to the Texans' pace.

Take the over.

 

Injury Report (via CBS), as of 12/26

Houston Injury Report

12/26/12

CB

Alan Ball

Foot

 

Did not practice. Questionable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

LB

Connor Barwin

Back, elbow

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

RB

Tyler Clutts

Abdomen

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

NT

Shaun Cody

Back

 

Limited practice. Questionable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

DE

Jared Crick

Neck

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

TE

Owen Daniels

Hamstring, neck

 

Limited practice. Questionable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

LB

Tim Dobbins

Shoulder

 

Limited practice. Questionable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

RB

Justin Forsett

Knee

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

RB

Arian Foster

Arrhythmia

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

CB

Johnathan Joseph

Groin, quadriceps

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

S

Eddie Pleasant

Hamstring

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

S

Glover Quin

Hip

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

LB

Brooks Reed

Groin

 

Limited practice. Questionable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

LB

Darryl Sharpton

Toe

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

DE

Antonio Smith

Ankle

 

Limited practice. Questionable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

RB

Ben Tate

Hamstring

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

12/26/12

QB

T.J. Yates

Right elbow

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 at Indianapolis

 

Indianapolis Injury Report

12/26/12

WR

Donnie Avery

Shoulder

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

RB

Delone Carter

Ankle

 

Did not practice. Questionable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

LB

Kavell Conner

Hamstring

 

Limited practice. Questionable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

LB

Jerrell Freeman

Thumb

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

LB

Dwight Freeney

Not injury related

 

Did not practice. Questionable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

NT

Antonio Johnson

Ankle

 

Did not practice. Questionable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

QB

Andrew Luck

Knee

 

Full practice. Probable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

DE

Cory Redding

Quadriceps

 

Did not practice. Questionable for Week 17 vs. Houston

12/26/12

S

Tom Zbikowski

Knee

 

Limited practice. Questionable for Week 17 vs. Houston

 

Fantasy Big Plays

Houston: RB, Ben Tate

Nope, not Arian Foster this week. Instead, play his backup Ben Tate.

Foster, who left last Sunday's game with an irregular heartbeat, is available to play this Sunday. However, you can bet the Texans will limit the role of their best player with a playoff spot already locked up.

This leaves Tate with all the carries Foster would usually garner. And against a Colts defense that is weak versus the run, it should mean huge fantasy points.

Projected Stats: 18 carries, 117 yards, 1 touchdown

 

Indianapolis: Andrew Luck

Against a great Houston rush defense, Luck will be the main catalyst of the Colts offense this weekend.

What's new?

Luck has put the team on his back all season, and that won't change in Week 17. He's been a top 10 fantasy quarterback all year, and with the return of Pagano, expect the Colts to push for the win even though there's nothing on the line.

Meaning, the Colts will throw.

Projected Stats: 304 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception

 

Key to Victory

Indy's wideouts vs. Houston's defensive backs

It's no secret that Wade Phillips likes his defense to get after the quarterback with lot of fronts and pressure from different places. But in doing so, he leaves his corners on an island, expecting them to handle wideouts one-on-one with little to no help from the safety spot.

Last time around, his corners handled this responsibility well. They limited the Colts receivers to just 129 yards and only one touchdown.

In order for that to change on Sunday, Reggie Wayne, Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton must win on their routes and give Luck a place to throw the ball. 

Whichever group wins this battle will have a major advantage in this matchup.

 

Prediction

The Colts will have the emotional momentum in this game with Pagano's return to the sidelines. However, the Texans have a lot to play for as well with home-field advantage on the line.

And as important as Pagano's return is, the Texans still have considerably more to play for on Sunday. That, coupled with superior talent, allows the Texans to walk away with their 13th win in a close game.

Final Score: Houston 27, Indianapolis 21

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