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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF, CLE
Monday
NYJ, OAK
STL, MIN
* updated

Prediction: HOU 13, IND 31

Late Update: Donald Brown was in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but then was held out on Friday. He has not been reported to have had a setback but no reason has been given why he was absent with the same shoulder injury that kept him out last week. He is listed as questionable and I will not be adding him back into the projections this week. Makes Addai remain a nice play on Sunday.

The Texans are 5-3 and only two and a half games behind the Colts and are 2-1 in road games. But the Colts are 7-0 and look as good as they have ever been. At this point, most people are trying to find a reason why the Colts and Saints won't be squaring off in the Super Bowl this year. No cogent argument against it has been found. The Colts will lose a game this year, but it'll much more likely be on the road against a non-divisional if not non-conference rival. Not the Texans.

The Colts swept the Colts last year, winning 31-27 at Houston and later 33-27 at home.

Houston Texans (5-3)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 7-24 -4.5 44
2 @TEN 34-31 +7 40.5
3 JAC 24-31 -4 46.5
4 OAK 29-6 -9.5 41
5 @ARI 21-28 +5.5 48
6 @CIN 28-17 +5.5 46
7 SF 24-21 -3 44.5
8 @BUF 31-10 -3.5 42
9 @IND - +9 48
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 IND - - -
13 @JAC - - -
14 SEA - - -
15 @STL - - -
16 @MIA - - -
17 NE - - -
HOU at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     260,1
RB Steve Slaton 40 20  
RB Ryan Moats 30 30,1  
TE Joel Dreesen   20  
WR Andre' Johnson   70  
WR Kevin Walter   60  
WR Andre Davis   30  
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Big win in Buffalo gives a shot of confidence that this could be the year that the Texans have their first winning record and maybe even a... well let's not get too far ahead. The Texans still have to face the Colts twice and go against the Dolphins and Patriots. Lose one of the others and the 9-7 cannot happen. The Texans go on bye next week.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub was red hot since week one having multiple touchdowns in all but one game including twice throwing for four scores. He had 16 touchdowns against only five interceptions but in Buffalo he settled for 268 yards and no scores. Ryan "surprise!" Moats did all the scoring and left Schaub with his worst showing since the opener.

Schaub wasn't healthy in either meeting with the Colts last year and Sage Rosenfels only passed for 192 yards and no scores.

Now he hits the road to Indy to face the Colts secondary that has only allowed three passing touchdowns all year. Just three. Only two quarterbacks (Warner/332 and Wallace/257) managed to throw for more than 200 yards against them. No quarterback has more than one touchdown passing. The Colts have only allowed seven offensive touchdowns over seven games played. Expect a lower output again this week but Schaub should manage at least decent yardage and one touchdown. Losing Owen Daniels will hurt Schaub if he cannot quickly find a suitable other outlet.

Running Backs: The resolution to the dual backfield is now to make it a trio backfield! This is a mess but at least one that has, somewhere in there, significant fantasy points to get. Last week Steve Slaton fumbled for the fifth time and lost the ball. HC Gary Kubiak apparently set his "enough meter" to five and sent Slaton to the bench while Ryan Moats tried to find the helmet he had not worn in weeks. Of course then Moats merely ran 23 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns.

So there is Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats and do not forget short yardage back Chris Brown. Kubiak will not disclose what his plans are this week other than "all three will play". Moats is no superstar who has been hiding in the wings, he's just a journeyman running back in the right place at the right time - for one week anyway. All this does is take a situation which was going to be challenging and make it too risky to rely on this week. The Colts defense has only allowed three runners to score against them and while there has been decent yardage at times, now we have to wait and see what tickles Kubiak's fancy and just how related to game situation that proves to be. So low confidence on the distribution to running backs this week.

Historically, these situations work themselves out quickly with the status quo returning sooner than later. There already was a reason why Slaton and Moats had their spots on the depth charts.

Slaton rushed for 93 yards and two scores when the Colts visited last year and then he gained 156 yards on 14 carries with one score in Indianapolis. Ahman Green scored twice in that game as well.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson has been the only wideout with any fantasy value this year and even then he only had scores in two games (both two touchdowns each). He has gained over 60 yards in each of the last seven games and while he was briefly hospitalized with a lung contusion after the 49ers game, he played this week and had a team high 63 yards on six catches. What Johnson has not had is a viable threat across from his this year.

Kevin Walter has just not had the same role as he did in 2008 and has ont scored since week three or had more than 47 yards in any game. The loss of tight end Owen Daniels could give Walter a chance to resume his role as possession receiver and third down outlet since Daniels had been supplying wideout quality numbers all year and had five touchdowns to lead the team in receiving scores. Where that production goes - if it goes anywhere else - remains to be seen but Walter occupies the most advantageous spot to see an increase in workload.

Johnson caught nine passes for 131 yards and one score in Houston when the Colts visited but later only had four receptions for 55 yards in Indy.

Johnson has turned in good games against the Colts but they have only allowed one touchdown to a wideout on the season. Look for yardage from Johnson if only because of sheer volume but the one score is more likely to go to a running back this week.

Tight Ends: The Texans lost a lot when Owen Daniels went down with a torn ACL since he was already established as one of the elite tight ends this year with production much better than most wideouts. Joel Dreesen will take his place but only has five catches for 52 yards on the season. The rookie James Casey is a true receiving tight end but is obviously raw and a step down as well. The expectation has to be that the workload shifts more to the wideouts or even running backs than Dreesen of Casey.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 7 11 11 4 18 24
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 3 12 11 3 16 1


Indianapolis Colts(7-0)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAC 14-12 -6.5 44.5
2 @MIA 27-23 -3 42
3 @ARI 31-10 +2.5 48
4 SEA 34-17 -10 43.5
5 @TEN 31-9 -3.5 46.5
6 BYE - - -
7 @STL 42-6 -14 45
8 SF 18-14 -13 45
9 HOU - -9 48
10 NE - - -
11 @BAL - - -
12 @HOU - - -
13 TEN - - -
14 DEN - - -
15 @JAC - - -
16 NYJ - - -
17 @BUF - - -
IND vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     300,2
RB Joseph Addai 60,1 20  
TE Dallas Clark   80  
WR Reggie Wayne   90,1  
WR Austin Collie   60,1  
WR Pierre Garcon   40  
PK Matt Stover 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: Pretty good scare instilled by the visiting 49ers last week and that's hardly the final time an opponent steps up to challenge the unbeaten Colts. This week could be primed for a trap again but the Texans are in the same division and are well known opponents who just lost their star tight end. The Colts were crushing every opponent for a month until last Sunday but the schedule has also been rather soft. This week could be a problem too if the Colts look past at the Patriots visiting in week ten but a divisional foe is less likely to surprise.

I like a defensive score in this game.

Quarterback: Not unlike Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning was tossing multiple scores every week and had 15 touchdowns but then never scored against the 49ers. He did throw for 347 yards though and that was his sixth game over 300 yards which ties his personal best... with half a season left to play. The only time Manning did not pass for over 300 yards was in the 42-6 pasting of the Rams when he had 235 yards and three touchdowns. You can only roll up the score so far before it gets insulting.

Manning passed for 320 yards and two scores when the Texans visited last year.

The Texans secondary has been about average and faced numerous less than stellar quarterbacks - JaMarcus Russell, Kerry Collins, Ryan Fitzpatrick and David Garrard for example. But three times they allowed multiple scores and Manning falls beyond that range anyway as one of the premier passers in the league. So far 300 yards and two scores are the rule even in matchups tougher than this one.

Running Backs: Donald Brown was inactive last week with a shoulder injury and never practiced. I will assume he remains out and update when that changes. Joseph Addai got the chance to be the primary runner with minimal sharing but only had 62 yards on 20 carries and no score against an inspired 49ers defense. Addai has scored in each of the four previous games and had a touchdown in every previous home game.

Addai gained 105 yards and one score rushing against the visiting Texans last season and added 48 yards and a score on four receptions in that game.

The Texans started the year as the worst rushing defense but the last month has been far better. Look for Addai to score once on the ground and get decent yardage but the Texans are no longer as lenient against runners as they started the year out.

Wide Receivers: There is an outside chance that Anthony Gonzalez gets to practice this week but it depends on what his doctors want. The Colts are already 7-0 and the passing game is easily one of the best in the league. There is no reason to rush him back if he is not completely healthy. Last week Reggie Wayne was bothered by a sore groin but he only only played, he had his best game since week one and caught a season high 12 passes for 147 yards and one touchdowns. He has only failed to score in one game all season long. Pierre Garcon never scores anymore but remains a possession play and Austin Collie has his three game scoring streak end last week. But this unit can hit an opponent from every angle. And Wayne always goes first.

Wayne caught seven passes for 90 yards against the visiting Texans last year. Marvin Harrison had 77 yards and one score in that game.

The Houston secondary has been decent but mainly because teams will run the ball against them more. You have to consider Wayne as an automatic touchdown because he has been since September. But I like Collie to get a score as well as the speed guy. Dallas Clark could have been that score but he has yet to score at home.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark has been highly productive every week since the season opener but has never scored at home this year. He had touchdowns in three of the four road games but he just is not used near the goal line. He is still a great start since he had eight catches for around 90 yards in each of the last two home stands but he did not score.

Clark never scored against the Texans last year and only had five receptions for 44 yards when the Texans visited in 2008.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 4 14 3 1 9 18
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 11 19 19 11 5 8

The Huddle
WEEK 9
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
BUF, CLE
Monday
NYJ, OAK
STL, MIN
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