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Key Areas to Watch in Colts vs. Texans Showdown

As the Colts try to turn their season around, their mentality might be just as important as their execution when they take on the Texans. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

We’re on to Houston.

Putting the disastrous meltdown behind them, the Indianapolis Colts have moved on from the Baltimore Ravens and turn all of their focus towards the Houston Texans.

Back at Lucas Oil Stadium this Sunday, the Colts are in a must-win situation once again against a divisional opponent. The Colts and Texans currently share second place in the AFC South at 1-4.

While the Colts are heavily favored to win the game, this will be no walk in the park. If the Colts approach it as such, they may be in for a rude awakening.

The key areas to watch this week are a little different than in weeks prior, as the mental state of the Colts takes priority in Week 6. Let’s dive in.

No Easy Victories

The Texans have a reputation amongst fans as a team that the Colts should beat handily. Without star quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans lack star power and playmakers that pose a huge threat.

However, there’s an old saying that goes, “You are what your record says you are.”

Both the Colts and Texans are 1-4, and with no margin for error, the Colts need to make sure they take care of business.

The Texans lost a close game to the New England Patriots last week 25-22, even leading at one point 22-9. Without a Nick Folk kick to win it for the Patriots, the Texans may be 2-2 right now.

The Colts will have to prepare just as hard as they do for any other game. This is especially true after the way they lost to the Ravens. If they fall to 1-5, Indy may be looking at a lost season.

Indianapolis Colts free safety Julian Blackmon (32) buries his face in his hands Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, after the 31-25 Colts loss against Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium for Monday Night Football. 101121 Colts 043 Jw

Killer Instinct

One of the major issues with this Colts team is their inability to finish games. The game against the Ravens is a perfect example.

The Colts were up 25-9 late with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The game was practically wrapped up if they had just finished the game. Instead, the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson scored 22 unanswered points, leaving the Colts stunned.

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There was no excuse for the Colts to lose when up by that much, especially in a game they had dominated up until that point. The Colts even had trouble stopping the Miami Dolphins at the end of the game in their Week 4 victory. This team needs to develop a killer instinct if they want to have success.

Quarterback Carson Wentz said as much after the loss Monday night.

“I talked to everyone after the game and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to have a killer instinct at the end of the day,” he said. “And that goes for me and goes for all of us.’ We’ve got to be able to finish games and put teams away when we’ve got them on the ropes like that.”

Plain and simple, the Colts need to learn how to win. This team is far too talented to lose games they should win and waste opportunities when their margin for error is already incredibly slim. If the Colts are up late on Sunday, you would like to see them keep their foot on the gas.

Oct 11, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws a touchdown pass to Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown (not pictured) under pressure from Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) during the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Pass Rush: Now or Never

One of the required components for the Colts defense to have success is forcing pressure rushing four defenders. So far, that has not happened often enough in 2021.

The Colts are near the bottom of the league in terms of forcing pressure on opposing quarterbacks. A defensive line that includes All-Pro DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, and first-round pick Kwity Paye should generate pressure on a more consistent basis.

This weekend presents the perfect opportunity for the pass rush to get back on track. Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (thumb) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (knee) are both out this weekend. Two backup tackles in the game make the Texans’ offensive line very vulnerable.

Buckner is the x-factor in this matchup and will have to play at an All-Pro level to jump-start the defensive line. Last year, the 6’7” defensive tackle registered five sacks and seven QB hits in two games against the Texans. A performance like that would be very welcomed by this struggling Colts defense.

Have thoughts on the key areas to the game for the Indianapolis Colts' matchup against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!


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