So the Colts are 15-1 against the Texans since the inception of the series between the two teams beginning in 2002. That just means the Colts’ 2010 season opener against the Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston is just another ho-hum gimmie win on the way to what could be a ninth consecutive post season run, right?
The Texans are definitely not a gimmie. In fact, the last two times the Colts have traveled down to Houston to play the Texans, they had to come back from 17 point deficits to win. The 2008 victory was especially close with the Colts scoring 21 points in the last four minutes of the game.
All NFL teams know that beginning the season with a win sets the tempo for the remainder of the season and the Colts are no different. As one of the team’s leaders, Peyton Manning believes that winning the opener and starting off on the right foot helps establish a team identity about whom they are and who they want to be.
So how can the Colts survive a scare in Texas again?
First, the offensive line needs to hold the Texans at bay and give Manning the time he needs to pick apart the Texan defensive backs. OT Charlie Johnson and C Jeff Saturday are questionable for Sunday’s contest but Saturday is expected to play. The line is also anchored in depth with RT Ryan Diem, RG Kyle DeVan and OG Jamey Richard. OL Tony Ugoh was waived earlier in the week but the Colts acquired OT Joe Reitz off waivers from Miami to give themselves a little more depth at the line. The Colts know that the key to Manning finding his open receivers is keeping DE Mario Williams at bay as he has had some success in sacking Manning in the past.
Secondly, if Manning gets the time he needs to throw the ball effectively, he needs to pick apart a secondary that is not ripe with experience. The Texans are not starting a cornerback with over two years of experience. Starters Kareem Jackson is a rookie and Glover Quin is in his second year. Even the Texans top back up, Brice McCain, is only in his second year. Comparatively, Manning’s 12 years of experience at the line and ability to capitalize on defensive mistakes and lack of experience could be the key.
Lastly, the Colts need to score early and control the clock and the tempo of the game. While in the past they have succeeded in coming back from large deficits against the Texans, the odds of continually doing that are slim. The Texans are coming off their best season last year finishing at 9-7 and even their owner Bob McNair believes “without a doubt, this is our best team” and “I have to be more optimistic than I have been previously.”
Although the Colts have the dominant series edge, it’s still going to be a battle. Expect the Colts to win that battle in what should be yet another one closely fought contest.
About the Author
Written by Patrick Blakeslee
I am currently a full-time student at State University of New York at Cobleskill. As a life long fan of sports, I hope to bring some research, insight and knowledge to the readers.