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Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Point Spread - Pick

Indianapolis Colts (6-4 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Week 12 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, November 21, 2019 at 8:20PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: Fox/NFL

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: IND +3.5/HOU -3.5
Over/Under Total: 45.5

The Indianapolis Colts take on the Houston Texans in high-stakes AFC South action from NRG Stadium on Thursday Night Football. With both teams at 6-4, this is for first place in the division. Houston could really use a good development after falling hard on Sunday with a 41-7 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. They need to get that winning feeling back, as this is a bad time of the season to start sliding with things so tight in the division. The Colts took advantage of the Texans' misfortunes on Sunday, beating Jacksonville, 33-13, and putting an end to their two-game slide to pull even with the Texans in the standings. Who can get the upper hand this time around?

This is the second go-around for these divisional foes, having faced off on October 20, a back-and-forth battle with the Colts pulling away a bit in the second half. Both offenses did some big things through the air, whole both run-games stalled. Indy quarterback Jacoby Brissett was awesome on the day, throwing for 326 yards and four scores. Deshaun Watson, meanwhile, was prolific, but two picks were crucial. This time in Houston, the Texans look for better this week.

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Granted, a win over the Jaguars is no cause for major celebration perhaps, but the Colts really needed some wind in their sails after two straight losses and a 20-point win is what the doctor ordered. Whereas they beat Houston through the air, last week it was all about the ground game, with the Colts pouring it on to the tune of 264 yards, with both Marlon Mack and obscure backup Jonathan Williams both going for over a hundred yards. Williams' performance is promising, especially with Mack now missing time with a hand injury. With TY Hilton questionable and the Houston run-defense pretty tough, one wonders if they can rediscover their aerial flair in time for this game.

Seeing a complete defensive effort from the Colts on Sunday was a good sign. There were some nice performances, with the run-defense again acquitting itself well in keeping Leonard Fournette and the Jags' ground-game in check. They were exploited in spots aerially, but with 13 points scored by Jacksonville, it was still a good showing for a defense that has a lot of balance, as well as a playmaking element that can go a long way. On Sunday, they got a pick from Rock Ya-Sin (questionable), with Kenny Moore and Justin Houston getting to the quarterback.

It's a critical time in the season for Houston, where they either step up and make a playoff push or start leaving it up to the winds of fate. Their season has followed a strange pattern since losing in week one, where they win two games in a row, then lose. Last week's loss was the third time that pattern played out. But the 34-point loss to the Ravens was a new low, with both sides of the ball in knots for most of the game. Then again, the Ravens have torched a lot of teams this season and maybe the Texans aren't as bad off as last week would suggest.

There are some issues on the Houston offense, with Will Fuller (questionable) missing time and some injuries having cost them some of their venom up-front. Watson frequently finds himself under siege at quarterback. And while it didn't manifest on Sunday, the run-game of a resurgent Carlos Hyde, along with Duke Johnson, and Watson is usually pretty effective. Having DeAndre Hopkins is a great asset and if Fuller comes back, even more so. With good play from Kenny Stills and 6 TDs from TE Darren Fells, a lot of guys on this side of the ball can thrive. And after getting almost nothing good done against the Ravens on Sunday, look for them to be itching to turn it loose this week. Against Indy's tough and balanced defense, though, it might not be that easy.

Again, taking a bad performance and dwelling on it when it comes against Baltimore and Lamar Jackson might not really capture where a team is truly at. The Texans were, after all, one of a handful of teams this season to be run over by that bunch. But they reverted form to some extent—somewhat rigid against the pass, while getting absolutely run over on the ground with the Ravens putting up 263 yards. They didn't make any plays and were just there taking up space more or less. And against Indy, in giving up 30 points a month ago, they weren't good enough, either. We've seen a pretty wide range of results on this side of the ball this season and against a team they didn't do a great job of shutting down before, it's a cause for concern. Let's just say it's not getting any better on this side of the ball lately.

The stakes are high. The urgency is high. And I suspect a competitive affair in Houston when these two tangle on TNF. There should be a little concern toward the Indy aerial game, as it isn't exactly at a crescendo heading into this one, with the absence of Mack another possible problem. But their run-game can still produce and despite not making it work against Houston last time, it could be a key in this game. And if not, they have shown they can do it through the air. Either way, this game has a certain toss-up appeal to it and I'm taking the points. I'll take the Colts.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Indianapolis Colts plus 3.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on games at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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