It seems the entire season in the AFC South was gearing up towards this moment: The Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts, round 2, and maybe the game that decides who wins the division.
The Colts weren’t supposed to be here, at 6-7, on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Andrew Luck has missed a lot of time and Matt Hasselbeck for the most part has done a good job in his place (winning more than Luck). But the problems for the Colts are bigger than just the quarterback, and no matter how this season ends (no one is fantasizing about Super Bowls anymore), it might mean a new head coach and general manager.
Expectations are more difficult to manage for the Texans, a team knowingly going into this season with a huge hole at quarterback. Although they’ve settled for one, it can only get them so far. This team has also lost Arian Foster along the way. They’re not fighting for the division title thanks to their offense. They are still in the picture due to their defense holding teams to six points three times during the four-game win streak which is keeping their season intact.
The Texans have been bad away from home this season, and except for their win against the Bengals, have ended up giving up a lot of points outside of Houston. The same can be said of the Colts, allowing 96 points over the last two weeks, but they’re playing at home again after two road games. But the big issue is Luck, who remains out of the picture, which means it’ll be Hasselbeck against a mean pass rush, that’s mostly been able to give opposing quarterbacks a lot of problems.
These are two teams with high hopes to begin this season for different reasons. The Colts seem to let the front office dysfunction and problems between the head coach and general manager affect them on the field. They’re built around a would-be great quarterback, but the problems this season are more than just his injury. The Texans headed into a second straight season with a quarterback they didn’t really want, and manage to make something out of it thanks to defense, and the overall weakness of the division. Unless the Jaguars somehow steal the entire thing which seems unlikely, one of these very unimpressive teams will be in the playoffs, once again saying something about the overall weakness of the 2015 NFL Season.