The Texans will have no problems without seeing Peyton Manning on the field. Granted, they may feel a little let down but they will still be bringing some major pressure for Kerry Collins. The Texans new 3-4 defense has the entire team fired up. During the preseason the Texans had the fifth best defense in the NFL. For a team that was in the bottom five defenses last season that is an impressive start – albeit it was during the preseason.
This first game will be an interesting one to watch for a few reasons. Firstly, Wade Phillips has held back many of his blitz packages during the preseason. He will not be so kind against the Colts. Secondly, the Texans are still feeling out some of their players (Brooks Reed) and we could see some action from some of the backup players later in the game. No matter what, though, the Texans will be focused and determined in this game, no matter who is under the gun.
As I mentioned in my previous answer, I expect to see Brooks Reed in on a few snaps in this game, especially if the Texans get a comfortable lead. Besides him I expect J.J. Watt to make a huge impact in this game. Watt has been showing why the Texans made the right choice by drafting him. His motor is always running in high gear and he never gives up on a play. Watch for him to be a part of every big defensive play in this game.CB Johnathan Joseph (from Cincinnati) and FS Danieal Manning (from Chicago) will also look to make a great impact on the defensive side of the ball. Joseph is considered, by most, to be the #2 CB in the league. His ability to shut down wide receivers will cripple the Colts passing game on that side of the field. Danieal Manning is a solid player who, opposite Glover Quinn, will be helping shut down the long bombs that the Colts love to throw. I also expect to see D. Manning in on a few blitzes so his impact could also be up front as well.
While I do believe that Arian Foster is a truly special player I also believe that Ben Tate can successfully fill in for him in this game if need be. Tate rushed for 95 yards against the Saints on only 9 plays (10.6 yards per rush). For someone who is coming off an injury that is pretty impressive. He looked good in the N.O. game and could serve as a great compliment to Derrick Ward if Foster sits this game out.
If the Texans were to lose this game against the Colts I believe that Coach Gary Kubiak’s tenure with the team will be over. He has been given a new defensive coordinator, has one of the best offenses in the league, and is on a very short leash. Losing this game is not an option for Coach Kubiak.
My prediction for this game: Houston 35 – Indianapolis 20