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Thursday Night Football Sees Colts, Texans Clash

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Arian Foster and the Houston Texans will look to take top spot in the AFC South Thursday.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Arian Foster and the Houston Texans will look to take top spot in the AFC South.

Thursday Night Football sees the Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts in a battle of the AFC South’s top teams.

Kickoff at NRG Stadium in Houston is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. ET.

Both sides have enjoyed a positive start to the season but Thursday night’s game represents the chance to take a stranglehold in the race for a division title and that all-important automatic postseason berth.

The Story So Far

After beginning the season with losses to the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis (3-2, 1-1 road) has begun to resemble the team we’ve come to expect over the last two years. Some of that has to do with scheduling.

The Colts picked up wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans in Week 3 and 4, lighting up the scoreboard for 44 points both games while allowing a combined 34 points.

Taking advantage of a pair of hapless division rivals boosted the team going into last Sunday’s home game with the Baltimore Ravens, a game that wasn’t pretty. The Colts gave up four turnovers, including a pair of interceptions from Andrew Luck, but a strong defensive performance allowed the team to come away with the 20-13 victory.

Now the Colts will look shore up the football and record a victory against the only team with a shot at prizing the AFC South title away from the Circle City.

Houston (3-2, 2-0 home) opened the season with solid victories over the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders, but has dropped two of three since.

A trip to New Jersey in Week 3 ended with the previously winless New York Giants riding roughshod over Bill O’Brien’s side. The Texans regrouped and earned a narrow victory over the surprising Buffalo Bills, before heading into this past weekend’s Texas derby.

With Texan fans taking up a good portion of “Jerry World”, Houston banged hard with the Dallas Cowboys, but ultimately came up on the wrong end of a 20-17 final score following overtime.

The game proved significant in that running back Arian Foster broke the plane of the goal on a pair of occasions, whilst rushing for 157 yards on 23 carries. If the Texans can keep Foster healthy and playing in that kind of form, they’ll have a serious weapon to use not only against the Colts, but in the remaining 10 games after Thursday.

Foster and the Texans will again hope that a return to NRG Stadium proves fruitful, as it did two weeks ago.

The AFC South Landscape

With both teams sitting at 3-2 to start the season, the winner of Thursday night’s game will leave with sole possession of first place in the AFC South, taking control of the division in the process.

Indianapolis already has two wins within the division. A third would give Chuck Pagano’s side a major edge heading forward, particularly with the Jaguars and Titans looking like dead wood this season.

Playing in its first divisional game of the year, Houston will want to make a positive start. Four of the Texans’ last five games of the season will come against AFC South opposition, so it’s not imperative that O’Brien’s team comes away with a victory on Thursday night. A 0-12 all-time record in Indianapolis suggests it would be a good idea though.


Since the Texans arrived in the NFL in 2002, Indianapolis leads the all-time head-to-head series 20-4.

Things are a little more respectable for the Texans at home, where they’ve managed to compile a 4-8 record against the Colts. Three of those wins have come since 2010.

Indianapolis enters the game having won three straight in the series and 11 of the last 14. The Colts swept the Texans a season ago, part of Houston’s woeful 14-game losing streak.

The two sides have met on Thursday Night Football once before, with the Colts defeating the Texans 34-7 on Dec. 22, 2011.

Injury Report

Houston continues to play without No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Foster (hamstring), Ryan Fitzpatrick (calf) and Andre Johnson (ankle) – the three major threats on offense – are all listed as probable after nursing injuries this past week.

Cornerback Jonathan Joseph (knee) is one of 11 Texans listed as questionable.

Check out Houston’s full injury list

Indianapolis continues to be without defensive back LaRon Landry (suspension), defensive end Robert Mathis (Achilles) and defensive tackle Arthur Jones (ankle).

Check out Indianapolis’ full injury list

Can Andrew Luck and the Colts make it 3-0 against AFC South opposition this season?

Can Andrew Luck and the Colts make it 3-0 against AFC South opposition this season?

Betting Report

Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans odds for 10/09/2014

Moneyline: Indianapolis (-140) opened as the favorite over Houston (+120) on the moneyline, and has seen its advantage stretch further. At the time of writing, the Colts were listed at -150.

The Colts have historically owned the Texans but are just 1-3 in their last four trips to Space City.

So far this season, the home side is 4-1 on Thursday Night Football

Spread: The spread opened at 2.5 but quickly climbed to 3.5 over the short week.

Both Indianapolis (4-1-0 ATS) and Houston (4-1-0 ATS) have fared well against the spread in the early part of the season.

The Colts have covered in both road games this season while the Texans have covered in both home games.

Indianapolis has covered the spread in three straight and four of the last five head-to-head meetings with Houston. However, the Texans are 6-2-0 ATS in their last eight home games against the Colts.

So far in 2014, the home team is 4-1-0 ATS on Thursday nights.

Total: The total opened at 45.5 but has subsequently climbed to 46.

The Colts (4-1-0 O/U) have favored the over this season, while the Texans (2-3-0 O/U) have favored the under.

Last Sunday’s game against Baltimore marked the first time the total had gone under in a game involving Indianapolis this season. The under has paid out in Houston’s last two games.

The total has gone under in six of the last seven head-to-head meetings between the sides. The under doesn’t necessarily make for the smart bet on Thursday though as the over has paid out in seven of the last nine games between the teams in Houston.

Through the first five weeks of the season, the over has paid out four times on Thursday Night Football.


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