Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans: Storylines, prediction for this AFC South clash

In this Week 13 Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans matchup, what are the main storylines, the current NFL odds, and our prediction?

While a prediction for this Week 13 Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans matchup may not be tough to make, there is more to this particular matchup than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at the Week 13 storylines in this Colts vs. Texans game and examine the NFL odds before making a prediction for how it may go.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans prediction | Storylines for Week 13

The last time these two teams met, the scoreline was a comprehensive 31-3. Going into that game, both teams were 1-4 with their respective seasons hanging by a thread. Now, the Colts are 6-6 with three tough games after their bye week. Therefore, this Week 13 game is as much of a must-win for Indianapolis as that meeting back in Week 6.

In contrast, the Texans are playing mostly for pride. However, their victory against the Tennessee Titans in Week 11 demonstrates this is not simply a team that will lie down and let the Colts take a free win. Throw in the divisional rivalry and the humiliating defeat from Week 6, and this game will have a huge motivational factor for the Texans.

The Colts need to reduce their mistakes

It will have been a tough week for the Colts after losing for just the third time in nine weeks. However, the manner of the loss will sting more so than the loss itself. Indianapolis made a couple of crucial mistakes that ultimately came back to cost them the game.

With the Colts leading 24-21 and on the verge of field-goal range, Carson Wentz threw a deep interception that Antoine Winfield returned 30 yards. The resulting touchdown gave the Buccaneers the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter. The interception was a great play by Winfield, but with the lead on second-and-3 inside the Buccaneers’ half, it was an odd risk to take.

A Marlon Mack fumble on a punt compounded the situation in the fourth quarter. The fumble gave the Buccaneers the ball at the 19-yard line. While the defense held the Buccaneers to a field goal, it turned a 4-point Buccaneers lead into a 7-point lead.

These two crucial errors cost the Colts 10 points, plus the potential opportunity to score themselves on the interception. These types of mistakes in big games can be the difference between winning and losing. Indianapolis is now 1-4 in one-score games, with the win coming against the Jaguars. This prediction for the Colts vs. Texans game is an expectation it will not be close, but Indy still needs to put together a clean game script this week.

Carson Wentz still has to prove himself in 2021

Wentz has deservedly received praise for overcoming the adversity of being benched in 2020, then adjusting to a new team, dealing with injuries, and navigating a 1-4 start. He is now leading a team in the playoff picture heading into Week 13. However, Indy’s QB still has questions to answer through the remainder of the season.

Wentz’s numbers have been distinctly average — Jonathan Taylor has been the motor the Colts’ offense has run through. Wentz is completing just 62.8% of his passes (25th in the NFL) despite being in the bottom half of the league in yards per attempt (7.0).

Indy’s QB hasn’t made many mistakes passing the ball (5 interceptions) but has 7 fumbles (4 lost). Those mistakes are fine if you create plays and add value to the offense elsewhere. Unfortunately, as PFN’s Offensive Value Metric demonstrates, Wentz is simply not doing that. OVM grades a player’s value to his offense based on metrics within his control.

Entering Week 13, Wentz’s OVM is 5% below the average OVM at the QB position. While that is not a disaster, he is not really adding value to the offense either. When you look at passer rating or QBR, Wentz is simply a league-average starter. With Wentz’s contract containing a lot of money going forward, the Colts need to see more from their QB, especially if the run game gets bogged down.

The Texans’ players have a chance to make a name for themselves

Understandably, a lot of focus in Houston this season has been on Tyrod Taylor and the QB position. However, the Texans have several pending free agents all over their roster beyond just Taylor. Their top three RBs are set to be free agents, as are three TEs and three WRs. On the offensive line, returning center Justin Britt and stand-in LT Geron Christian are also set to be free agents.

Defensively, the picture is similar. Six of their linebackers, six defensive backs, four interior defensive linemen, and two pass rushers are set to be free agents. The likes of S Justin Reid or CB Desmond King have proven themselves already. Still, there are plenty on this roster who have the opportunity to earn themselves lucrative contracts in the coming weeks.

Colts at Texans betting line and game prediction

  • Spread: Colts -10 (Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
  • Moneyline: Colts -450, Texans +340
  • Total: 44.5

All of the lines for this game make perfect sense. The Colts absolutely dominated the Texans in their first matchup, and the expectation is they will again. Nonetheless, the NFL is never as simple as it may seem. The Texans just shocked the Titans and would love to disturb the playoff chances of another divisional rival.

The Texans’ run defense will be the key here, and it is an area they have struggled. They have allowed more than 100 rushing yards in all but two of their games this season. They rank 24th in rushing yards per attempt, which is a major concern against Taylor.

The Colts are just slightly better in most factors than the Texans. The difference is not as significant as the 28-point hammering Indianapolis delivered in Week 6, but enough that they should win by somewhere around the 10 points that the spread is set at this week.

Colts vs. Texans prediction: Colts 28, Texans 17

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