NFL Picks: Colts Over Texans to Take Control of AFC South

David Lawrence

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 2:29 PM GMT

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts will battle it out for first place in the AFC South on Thursday. Although it’s been a surprising start for both teams – in their own respective ways – Thursday shapes up as an important matchup on the NFL odds with both teams at 3-2.

The Indianapolis Colts Can Win Because…
They’re the better team. Let’s face it: Houston’s start has been cute and all, but this team isn’t going anywhere with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. The Texans have beaten the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts have two losses but they’ve come at the hands of the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, two teams that are a combined 7-2.

Andrew Luck is playing like a league MVP these days and the Colts offense is on fire. Luck leads the league in passing yards and the Colts are first in points per game (31.2). Houston will do their best to keep it close but the Colts have too many weapons. As long as Luck gets time to throw, they’ll get the job done.

 

The Houston Texans Can Win Because…
They’re at home and their defense should be able to dictate the pace. Remember, the Dallas Cowboys offense was clicking but the Texans went to Dallas and held the Cowboys to just 20 points. The Texans’ defense ranks fourth in the NFL in points allowed at just 17.4 per game.

The Texans have a healthy Arian Foster and that could be the key to success for them. He went bananas last week, totaling 215 yards and two touchdowns. When he’s healthy and on his game, the Texans are a serious threat. They’ll do their best to control the ball, control the clock and keep Luck on the sidelines. That’s their path to victory.

 

Evaluating The Betting Line
This line opened at Colts -1 and has climbed to -2.5 on the NFL odds board. That shows that the sharps believe the Colts are the better team here. Even though the two squads are tied for first place and the Texans are at home, the Colts are nearly a field goal favorite.

Houston needs their defense to carry them to victory here because they simply can’t get involved in a shootout. Houston only scores 20.8 points per game and if this becomes a back-and-forth game, the Texans simply won’t have enough firepower to compete. What’s discouraging is that Houston only scored 17 versus the weak defenses of the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, so the fact that the Colts don’t have a very stellar defensive unit shouldn’t factor. This is all about what Andrew Luck can do and if he can elevate the Colts. Chances are he will. His team has won three straight while the Texans have dropped two of three.

Luck has always fared well against his AFC South rivals, posting a career 91.6 passer rating with nine touchdowns and just one interception. He’s only completed 50.4% of his passes versus the Texans but clearly, he’s been very effective with those completions.

This game just feels like it will restore order in the South. The Colts started slow and the Texans started fast, but Indy should win and cover here, and get back in the division driver seat this week. Lay the points with Indy for your Week 6 NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Colts -2.5

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