INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will return to Lucas Oil Stadium for just the second time in 41 days on Sunday afternoon.
A 60-minute contest will decide whether or not the Colts will have a firm grasp on the AFC South race with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
What should fans be looking for when the Colts take on the Texans in Week 15?
1. Who Plays QB?
-Chuck Pagano was adamant that Matt Hasselbeck is going to play, and play well, on Sunday afternoon. After practicing in a limited role on Thursday and Friday, Hasselbeck looks to be getting his seventh start of the season on Sunday. If this is the final start of the season for Hasselbeck, the 40-year-old should be more than commended for being able to start nearly half of the year and piling up a record above .500.
2. Have To Help Him Out
-"Him" will be Matt Hasselbeck (and potentially Charlie Whitehurst). Chuck Pagano spoke Friday at his final press conference of the need for the rest of the Colts offense to help out Hasselbeck. The Colts need the line to play like it did in Week Five against Houston (no sacks in 29 pass attempts) and have their skill players make plays once the ball gets into their hands.
3. Quieting Watt
-It's a stat line that you had to read twice or three times to truly believe. Zero sacks. Zero solo tackle. That box score doesn't often show up next to the name of J.J. Watt. With the Colts getting Anthony Castonzo back to left tackle that allows them to flip Joe Reitz to his normal right tackle position. Watt is playing with a clubbed up broken left hand and finished last week with three total tackles.
4. Handling Hopkins
-11 catches for 169 yards. That was the damage DeAndre Hopkins did to the Colts defense back in Week Five. The Colts did not choose to use Vontae Davis in a shadow role as he was dealing with an ankle injury on a short week. A much healthier Davis seems to be much more fit to follow Hopkins around this time around. 5. No Special Teams Mistakes
-The last two weeks the Colts have allowed punt returns for touchdowns. This week, the Colts showed that they have had enough with their recent special teams struggles, signing a pair of players known for their play on special teams (safety Akeem Davis and outside linebacker Andy Studebaker).
6. Rattle Yates
-Last week, we saw the Colts pass rush rattle Blake Bortles in the first half. Such pressure is going to be needed throughout Sunday's game. You know Houston is going to feel similar type of pressure, so stopping the run and forcing Yates (who was signed by Houston in October) would make things very difficult for the Texans.
7. Embrace The Opportunity
-For the Colts to want to control their own destiny in the final two weeks of the season, a win on Sunday is a must. The Colts haven't been in this type of situation in a long, long time. Chuck Pagano exuded plenty of confidence this week in his team rising to the challenge and winning a game this team almost has to have.