Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts
Date and Time: Sunday, December 31, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Opening NFL Odds: Colts -3.5
Colts vs. Texans TV Coverage: CBS
DeAndre Hopkins is really good. Unfortunately for the Texans, he seems to be the only man who is still showing up at the end of the season.
Hopkins' ridiculous catch on Christmas night against Pittsburgh was arguably the highlight of the entire season in the NFL, but it was also the only scoring play for the hosts in a 34-6 whitewashing.
The Texans have been beaten by double-digits in four straight games here at the end of the regular season, and that has many wondering if this is the final game for Bill O'Brien in Houston.
Whereas we aren't sure if the Texans are going to be making a coaching change at the end of this game, we're darn sure that the Colts are heading in a different direction.
Chuck Pagano never had a fair shot this year with Andrew Luck sidelined for the season, but it's not like he did anything to deserve keeping his job either. The Colts have scored more than 23 points in a game in regulation just one time, and that was against Cleveland in Week 3 in a game that was still darn near lost.
Jacoby Brissett is set to be a 3,000-yard quarterback while both Frank Gore and T.Y. Hilton could get to 1,000 yards in rushing and receiving respectively by the end of this game. However, no man has more than four touchdowns scored, and the offense as a whole managed just 22 touchdowns in 15 games this season.
12 – The number of offensive touchdowns that quarterbacks not named Deshaun Watson have generated for the Texans thus far this season.
Watson generated 23 offensive touchdowns for Houston in his 6.5 games under center. The team effectively averaged 33.1 points per game with Watson and 12.9 points per game without him.
Watson's six starts saw Houston put 2,369 yards up, an average of 394.8 yards per game. The nine starts other quarterbacks made? 2,542 yards in totality, 282.4 yards per game.
It's not all O'Brien's fault that this year has been an abject disaster in Houston, of course. The Texans are 4-11, but they were 3-3 with Watson starting games, losing to the Patriots by a field goal, the Chiefs by a touchdown and the Seahawks by a field goal in his outings.
Texans vs. Colts Free Picks
Talk about the moveable force against the resistible object.
All of the best NFL sportsbooks are in a horrible bind with this game. Neither one of these teams have looked even remotely competitive at the end of the season, but one of them is going to have to win this one.
In the end, we're going to trust the Colts, if for no other reason than the fact that they already went to Houston and won this season. The Texans have never had good fortune in Indianapolis, and T.J. Yates isn't a legitimate quarterback in the NFL at this point in his career and will probably be playing in his final NFL game on Sunday.
Houston has given up defensively, too. Sure, this offense is doing it no favors, but allowing 79 points in these last two games isn't helping O'Brien's case at all.
The only solace the Texans fans can take is that they're going to ultimately have a much better team in 2018 if Watson comes back healthy. The Colts have nothing going for them at this point, save for the fact that Luck might come back to the fold healthy one of these years. That won't help Houston in Week 17, but it will dull the ache from a lost season that comes without a first- or second-round draft pick in 2018.
NFL ATS Pick: Colts -3.5 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Colts 24, Texans 16