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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 8
October 22, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *DET at CHI Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
CAR at NO NYG at MIN HOU at IND BUF at KC Atlanta
*CLE at NE SEA at CIN *NYJ at PHI Mon 9 PM Green Bay
DAL at TB *STL at PIT *SF at ARZ *MIA at SD Oakland
*DEN at BAL TEN at JAX   *updated Washington
   
Houston vs Indianapolis Sun, Oct 26; 4 PM on CBS at RCA Dome
  Houston Rush Catch Pass
QB David Carr 10 0 220,1
RB Stacey Mack 10 0 0
RB Domanick Davis 60 40 0
TE Billy Miller 0 20 0
WR Corey Bradford 0 20 0
WR Andre Johnson 0 70,1 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 0 50 0
  Indianapolis Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 250,2
RB Edgerrin James 80,1 10 0
TE Marcus Pollard 0 20 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 20 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 110,1 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 70,1 0


Game Prediction: HOU 7, IND 27

You have to take into account that this is the third meeting between these two teams and yet the Texans still have never scored an actual touchdown against the Colts. They were swept 23-3 and 19-3 last season and Indy is rested and at home this week. The Texans come off a frustrating loss. Houston should just accept the blindfold and allow the Colts to choose the manner of execution.

Houston Notes

Houston falls to 2-4 with the recent loss to the Jets.

Quarterbacks: David Carr comes off a lackluster performance against the Jets where he completed 15 of 23 passes for 170 yards and no touchdowns. This was a big contrast to his 371 yards and two scores the previous week and while he finally had no interceptions last week, the concern is that he is not connecting well enough with his receivers. The success of the rushing game last week was a big contributor to Carr's lower numbers.

Running Backs: Domanick Davis took his first NFL start and became the first Texan runner to exceed 100 yards rushing in a game. Davis ended with 129 yards on the ground and added 70 more yards on nine catches. Stacey Mack will continue in his short yardage and goal line duty as he did last week when he scored the two rushing touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson has fallen off the map the past two weeks, gaining only 49 yards on four catches in week six and following that up with only three catches for 71 yards last week. Jabar Gaffney has done even less. When Carr threw for 371 yards against the Titans, Gaffney had no catches. The coaching staff is working on getting the duo back into the passing scheme and making better use of two of the Texans' best weapons.

Tight Ends: With the rushing game taking off, Billy Miller is honing those blocking skills at the expense of catching passes. He had only one reception last week.

Match against the defense: There is hope that Davis will continue his hot hand against the Colts who have given up 100 yard games to three of their past four opponents. The last thing the Texans want is to get into a shoot-out with Peyton Manning and will look to run against what is only an average defense. The limiter here is if the Colts gain an advantage on the scoreboard and takes Houston out of the running game. Davis should still turn in good numbers though as he showed last week with nine receptions.

David Carr should turn in lesser numbers once again since he has had problems against the Cover 2 defense but there is always the hope for trash time production.

Indianapolis Notes

The Colts are 5-1 and come off their bye week having most recently lost to the Panthers.

Quarterbacks: Peyton Manning again is a top quarterback in the league and holds a 101 QB rating. He will face the same team this week that gave up 421 yards to Steve McNair.

Running Backs: Edgerrin James is expected back this week and none too soon since Ricky Williams has an ankle sprain and James Mungro had surgery on his knee and both will miss this game. EvenDominic Rhodes is not certain to play and may cause Brian Allen to be the backup in the game. If that happens, expect James to get almost every carry.

James will be returning to face one of the worst rush defenses in the league and should be commended on his sense of timing.

Wide Receivers: After starting slowly the first two weeks, Marvin Harrison has four consecutive 100 yard efforts and has 29 catches in that time span. Reggie Wayne continues to be good for about four catches and around 50 yards or so a game. That could tick up this week if the Colts decide to go that route instead of rushing.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard have now combined to be as good as Pollard used to be alone.

Match against the defense: Like a trip to the buffet line, the Colts have to decide whether to exploit one of the worst rushing defenses, or one of the worst passing defenses, or just go for a complete act of gluttony and take ample portions of both.

With James just returning from injury and with marginal backup, the Colts will want to use a balanced attack that does not expose James to unnecessary risk once the game is in hand. The notable players - Manning, James, Harrison and even Wayne should all have good to great performances here. Harrison has never NOT had 100 yards against the Texans.

Team Comparisons Current team rankings (1-32) by position for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
HOU Scores
7
20
10
25
26
28
IND Allows
9
17
18
13
11
1
HOU AP 2 -3 8 -12 -15 -27
Rank (1-32) QB RB WR TE PK DEF
IND Scores
6
15
4
9
1
15
HOU Allows
28
29
30
3
18
28
IND AP 22 14 26 -6 17 13
Offensive ranks - lower = gains more points, Defensive Ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.

HOU IND 2003 Game Averages IND HOU
Gains Allows QB's Gains Allows
245
205
Pass yards
268
252
1.0
1.2
Pass TDs
2.0
1.8
1.0
1.2
Interceptions
0.8
1.2
11
4
Rush yards
1
6
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
----
RB's
----
---
100
119
Rush yards
85
106
0.5
0.3
Rush TDs
0.8
1.0
48
35
Receive yards
31
52
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.2
---
----
WR's
----
---
169
127
Receive yards
180
181
1.0
1.2
Receive TD's
1.5
1.5
---
----
TE's
----
---
28
43
Receive yards
57
19
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
----
PK's
----
---
1.3
1.5
Field Goals
2.5
1.0
1.8
1.8
Extra Points
3.2
3.8
---
----
DEF/ST
----
---
0.7
0.5
Fumbles
0.5
0.7
1.2
0.7
Interceptions
0.8
1.5
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.3
0.7
1.3
0.7
Sacks
1.8
1.7
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Texans (2-3)
Score Opp.
21-20 @MIA
10-31 @NO
14-42 KC
24-20 JAX
Week 5 BYE
17-38 @TEN
14-19 NYJ
Week 8 @IND
Week 9 CAR
Week 10 @CIN
Week 11 @BUF
Week 12 NE
Week 13 ATL
Week 14 @JAX
Week 15 @TB
Week 16 TEN
Week 17 IND
Colts (5-1)
Score Opp.
9-6 @CLE
33-7 TEN
23-13 JAX
55-21 @NO
38-35 @TB
20-23 CAR
Week 7 BYE
Week 8 HOU
Week 9 @MIA
Week 10 @JAX
Week 11 NYJ
Week 12 @BUF
Week 13 NE
Week 14 @TEN
Week 15 ATL
Week 16 DEN
Week 17 @HOU

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points