With Andrew Luck's surprising retirement on the eve of the regular season, the debate over the best quarterback in the AFC South was settled and Houston's Deshaun Watson became the obvious choice. Watson will try to guide the Houston Texans to a third consecutive win when they visit the Luck-less Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
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Watson guided the Texans offense to a combined 84 points in wins over the Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs in the last two games and showed off his versatility with a pair of rushing scores while helping to keep the powerful Chiefs offense off the field last week. Watson is averaging 301.3 yards passing with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions and owns five rushing TDs to support a solid rushing attack based around veterans Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. The Colts may not have Luck any longer, but they remain right behind Houston in the AFC South standings and got an extra week to prepare after earning their own win over Kansas City, 19-13 in Week 5. "I think it's the quality of the players that we have," Indianapolis coach Frank Reich told reporters when asked about the strength of his team. "Not just of how good of football players they are, but just the football character of them - that we are a team. And when we step out on the field, that's our aim: we want to be the best team."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -1. O/U: 47
ABOUT THE TEXANS (4-2): Houston battled through some uneven performances offensively before hitting its stride over the last two games and Watson is guiding a well-rounded attack. While Hyde and Johnson have combined for 665 yards rushing, wide receivers Will Fuller V (33 receptions, 444 yards, three TDs) and DeAndre Hopkins (40 receptions, 402 yards, two TDs) are rounding into one of the best tandems in the league. "I think we're getting to that point where we're figuring out what we want to be on offense," Hyde told ESPN. "... I think things are definitely starting to jell. Things are definitely starting to come together."
ABOUT THE COLTS (3-2): Jacoby Brissett is proving to be a capable replacement for Luck under center, but the Indianapolis offense is built around the offensive line and the running game, led by third-year back Marlon Mack. The 23-year-old bounced back from a sub-par effort in a loss to Oakland in Week 4 by rumbling for 132 yards on 29 carries in Week 5 behind an offensive line that dominated up front. "This is what we want to define us," Reich told reporters. "We want it to start up front. When we got here, (general manager) Chris (Ballard) two years ago, we would start talking about what we wanted to build. This is the kind of team we wanted to build."
1. Colts LB Darius Leonard (concussion) sat out the last three games but cleared the protocol and returned to practice this week.
2. Texans rookie OT Tytus Howard (partial MCL tear) is out indefinitely and the team signed OLs Dan Skipper and Chris Clark this week.
3. The road team took all three meetings last season, including Indianapolis' 21-7 win at Houston in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
- CalfEarly Nov | out
Pittman Jr. had surgery to repair compartment leg syndrome in his calf and is likely to be out of action until at least Week 8 against the Lions.
- ShoulderQues Sun | questionable
Hines is managing a shoulder injury, and it remains to be seen if he will take the field against the Bears on Sunday.
- IllnessQues Sun | questionable
Ya-Sin has been absent from the last two games due to an illness, and it is unknown if the symptoms will subside in time for Sunday's tilt against the Bears.
- KneeQues Sun | questionable
Patmon has sat the past three games with a knee injury, and it is unclear if he will return Sunday against the Bears.
- AnkleOut indefinitely | I-R
Adams has been ticketed for the injured reserve list due to an ankle injury, and he will miss an undetermined length of time.
- AnkleProb Sun | probable
Doyle missed the last game with injuries to his ankle and knee. It is projected that he will be active Sunday against the Jets.
- LegProb Sun | probable
Rhodes was lifted from the last game due to a leg injury, but he is likely to play Sunday versus the Jets.
- BackQues Sun | questionable
Buckner is managing a back injury, and it remains to be seen if he will line up against the Jets on Sunday.
- HamstringOut indefinitely | I-R
Moore has been placed on the injured reserve list with a left hamstring injury, and it is uncertain when he will be activated.
- HamstringQues Sun | questionable
Kalambayi has been held out of the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, and it is uncertain if he will take the field Sunday versus the Vikings.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Johnson has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, and he it is unclear if he will be ready for Sunday's matchup against the Vikings.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Greenard has sat out the past three games due to an ankle injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up against the Vikings on Sunday.
- LegQues Sun | questionable
Cunningham exited the last game due to a leg injury, and it is unclear if he will play Sunday against the Vikings.
- ElbowProb Sun | probable
Tunsil is dealing with an elbow injury, but he is projected to line up against the Steelers on Sunday.
- GroinProb Sun | probable
Watt has a groin injury, but he is likely to face the Steelers on Sunday.
- IllnessProb Sun | probable
Stills is suffering from an unspecified illness, but he is expected to take the field against the Steelers on Sunday.