Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans

The AFC defending champion Colts visit the Texans, who they have dominated — with 15 wins in 16 meetings — since the franchise’s inaugural season in 2002. Their last four meetings have been decided by eight points or less, and many of the Texans players believe this is their chance to finally overtake the mighty Colts and make a move in the AFC South.

Keys for the Colts
• Peyton Manning has been the difference in this lopsided rivalry, and he will be a huge key once again this weekend. Manning complimented the Texans’ young secondary this week, but he will undoubtedly have his sites set on Houston’s young cornerbacks. 
• Manning’s trustworthy center Jeff Saturday is questionable for the game after right knee surgery, which could be problematic. On the other side of the ball, defensive end Dwight Freeney must continue his consistency and dominance to slow the Texans’ passing game.

Keys for the Texans
• With linebacker Brian Cushing, last season’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, suspended for testing positive for a banned substance, the Texans’ defense will have to compensate for his lost production. Mario Williams and the defensive front must put pressure on Manning.
• The Texans’ running game will have to improve from last season when they ranked 30th in the league in order to help the prolific passing tandem of Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Houston will rely on second-year back Arian Foster as the starter after he averaged 108 yards per game and had three touchdowns in the final two games of last season.

Bottom Line
The Texans have made big strides from last season, but the Colts are still one of the league’s best teams from top to bottom. Still, Houston, with the help of a rowdy Reliant Stadium crowd, is poised to break through. Texans 27–24.

Week 1
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