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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: HOU 20, IND 24

Update: HC Tony Dungy reiterated that he did not intend on resting starters this week even though the Colts cannot change their playoffs seeding. Marvin Harrison is 'gasp!' unlikely to play and has not participated in practices.

HC Gary Kubiak said that Matt Schaub would be a gametime decision this week but he has been limited in practice and it sounds more like a ploy to affect the Colts' preparation. If you intend on using Rosenfels this week, check the game inactives in this first round match-up to be sure. Ron Dayne has been limited this week in practice but Kubiak indicated that it was only to rest him before playing on turf this week. He is still a safe start pending any later changes. Darius Walker is expected to still mix in but last week made it obvious that they team is sticking primarily with Dayne.

The Texans got a shot of confidence with their win over the Broncos but the Colts already won 30-24 in Houston during week three of this season. The Colts are 5-1 at home while the Texans are only 2-5 on the road. The Colts no longer have anything to play for since they are locked in as the #2 seed regardless what happens for the next two weeks. That makes them far more difficult to predict since the need to keep them up to speed with be balanced by the desire to keep them healthy.

Houston Texans (7-7)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 20-3 +3 38
2 @CAR 34-21 +6.5 39
3 IND 24-30 + 6 47.5
4 @ATL 16-26 -2.5 39.5
5 MIA 22-19 -5.5 43
6 @JAC 17-37 +7 37
7 TEN 36-38 -2 37.5
8 @SD 10-35 +11 45
9 @OAK 24-17 +3 41.5
10 BYE - - -
11 NO 23-10 +1 47
12 @CLE 17-27 +3.5 51
13 @TEN 20-28 +3.5 43
14 TB 28-14 -1 40.5
15 DEN 31-13 -1.5 47
16 @IND   +7 47.5
17 JAC 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
HOU at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Sage Rosenfels     190,1
RB Ron Dayne 70,1 20  
TE Owen Daniels   30  
WR Andre Johnson   80,1  
WR Andre Davis   20  
WR Kevin Walter   40  
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The win over the Broncos gives the Broncos something to build upon for next year. With wins over the Buccaneers and Broncos in the last two weeks, the Texans have been exceeding expectations thanks not only to the solid play of Sage Rosenfels, but from a defense that is clearly upgraded from any ever assembled in Houston before this year. The last two games are brutal with a road trip to Indianapolis and then hosting the Jaguars but the Texans are showing new found confidence lately.

Quarterback: Sage Rosenfels has taken the last two starts and while he only passed for 200 yards and one score in the win over the Broncos, he had no interceptions and played a solid game. He had three scores against the Buccaneers and continues to make a nice connection with Andre Johnson each game. He has a problem with fumbling since he lost four in the last two games but he's proving to be one of the better back-up quarterbacks in the league.

Schaub passed for 236 yards and one score against the Colts this year.

Running Backs: Ron Dayne was questionable to play last week but ran well in his limited role, gaining 67 yards on 11 carries and scoring once while Darius Walker ran for 66 yards on 13 carries. Dayne by himself has only one 100 yard game this year but has been solid around 70 or 80 yards in most games but since he has been limited by his knee, Walker cuts into the workload. Dayne is the better runner when healthy, the question is when will he be completely healed? He obviously was good enough to play last week after almost no practice so it is safe to expect him to take a primary role this week.

The Texans only rushed for a total of 27 yards in the first meeting with the Colts though Gado scored once.

Wide Receivers: Despite the change in quarterbacks, Andre Johnson has turned in over 60 receiving yards and a score in both games with Rosenfels while the rest of the wideouts have only had minimal use. That will have to change this week against a tough Colts secondary but Johnson is already getting around ten passes per game thrown to him. He remains a safe start if only thanks to the volume of passes thrown to him by Rosenfels.

Andre Davis led receivers in week three when he had four catches for 70 yards filling in for Andre Johnson. Walter only only two catches for 17 yards.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels remains one of the more productive tight ends in the league who rarely scores any touchdowns - only two this season though both came in the last two weeks. He rarely has less than 30 yards per game and has been locked in at three catches per week with Rosenfels.

Daniels had seven receptions for 56 yards versus the Colts this year.

Match Against the Defense: How this matches up all depends on who plays how much for the Colts, particularly in the second half. But expecting that the Colts play most or all of the game, look for Dayne to turn in a decent game here with a shot at one rushing score.

Rosenfels should manage to throw for one score here and more if the Colts are nice enough to sit players. That has to favor Johnson strongly and this is his first game of the year against them. The Colts have an excellent pass defense so most of what the Texans can accomplish will come in trash time. And it is complicated by the specter of the Colts resting players at any point in the game.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 10 22 9 11 8 12
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 3 7 1 5 1 8


Indianapolis Colts (12-2)
Homefield: RCA Dome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NO 41-10 -6 51.5
2 @TEN 22-20 -7 46
3 @HOU 30-24 -6 47.5
4 DEN 38-20 -10 46.5
5 TB 33-14 -9 45
6 BYE - - -
7 @JAC 29-7 -3.5 45
8 @CAR 31-7 -6.5 45
9 NE 20-24 +5.5 56.5
10 @SD 21-23 -3.5 49
11 KC 13-10 -15 44
12 @ATL 31-13 -12 45
13 JAC 28-25 -7 44.5
14 @BAL 44-20 -9.5 44
15 @OAK 21-14 -10.5 45
16 HOU   -7 47.5
17 TEN 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
IND vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     230,2
RB Joseph Addai 60,1 10  
TE Dallas Clark   30,1  
WR Reggie Wayne   80,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   70  
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Colts have wrapped up the #2 seed with nothing more to play for other than your fantasy championship which they really do not care about. After Sunday's game against the Raiders, HC Tony Dungy said he would rest players "in spots" but also later recalled sitting players for the last two weeks in 2005 and then coming out flat against the Steelers. It throws a fair amount of unpredictability on the Colts starters and even their motivation in games.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning in a primary candidate for resting but he rarely takes the sidelines and needs to remain sharp. He also doesn't get hit very often so his risk of injury is already lower than many NFL quarterbacks. Manning's production this year had typically been in proportion to the need to throw so the easier the game, the less likely he is to have a big game.

Manning passed for 273 yards and one score in Houston this year. It was so long ago that Marvin Harrison even played.

Running Backs: It is a fair question. What is wrong with Joseph Addai? Not only has he been less than stellar for the last six games, he comes off a 15 carry, 44 yard effort against the Raiders who used to have the worst rushing defense until the Colts showed up. He has managed to score enough to prop up his fantasy value in most games but Addai has been little more than an average back since week nine when he stopped having 100 yard rushing games. What is even worse is that he would be the most likely candidate for resting since running backs are so often injured.

He remains the starter and there is no word that Kenton Keith inherits any more significant of a role for the next two weeks, but it would seem prudent to have Keith play more in these last two meaningless weeks, particularly in week 17.

Addai rushed for 72 yards on 22 carries and scored twice in Houston this season.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne is another player that is it critical to keep healthy. He too should see at least some rest if only in week 17. Anthony Gonzalez, on the other hand, could use the work and has been very impressive in the last four games with 85+ yards in three of the four and scores in the last two including against the more formidable Oakland defense last Sunday. Marvin Harrison has already been deemed out for this week but it would be ironic to see him play in week 17 after fantasy owners sat on him all season long for nothing.

Marvin Harrison had six catches for 53 yards while Fitzgerald led all receivers with 84 yards on four receptions in Houston this year.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark is back to one catch games with back-to-back bad games these last two weeks. Ben Utecht suffered a shoulder injury the Oakland game and may not be available this week.

Clark recorded four receptions for 58 yards and a score in Houston earlier this year.

Match Against the Defense: This should be a great spot for Addai to have a nice game against the #25 defense against running backs but he's been so unproductive lately that he cannot be relied on for more than moderate yardage and one score at most. And you know at some point, Kenton Keith sill take some carries as well. Big risk here for Addai.

Manning will likely play the entire game or close to it and should enjoy nice success this week since the Texans on the road have allowed at least two scores in each of the last seven games except in Oakland (of course). Clark should get back on track this week against a soft defense versus tight ends and with Utecht ailing anyway. For wideouts, it depends if anyone sits but either Wayne or Gonzalez could score here.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 4 5 11 2 10 8
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 15 25 11 28 25 18

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
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