2019 NFL Wildcard Playoff
Welcome to the 2019 NFL Wildcard Playoff Preview. Why the Colts and Texans can win this match up! (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Welcome to Vendetta Media’s 2019 NFL Playoff preview! I’m your host Trey Daubert and I’m going to walk you through all four of the playoff games this weekend. I challenge you the reader to find a better preview covering the playoff games because you will not find one.

Up first this weekend is a wildcard playoff game featuring two AFC South division foes. The Indianapolis Colts will travel to Houston to take on the Texans. The Colts and Texans have split the season series to this point and will now get a chance to win a best two out of three series. The road team has won both games. Do you know what’s even crazier? Both teams have scored the exact same number of points (58) during the two meetings. It’s as even as it gets. Houston comes into this showdown as a 1 point favorite at home. Let’s take a look at why each team can win this 2019 NFL Playoff Wildcard match up.

Indianapolis At Houston: 4:35 ET – ESPN

2019 NFL Wildcard Playoff
Andrew Luck is the reason why the Colts are the most dangerous team in the NFL moving forward (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

WHY THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS WILL WIN

1: The Colts are on FIRE!

Indy has won 9 of 10 and no team is coming into the postseason on more of a roll than the Colts. Indy also kinda has a playoff game out of the way already. The Colts already beat up the Titans in a Week 17 game that was a win and get in regular season game. The playoff nerves have already been taken care of. You can see that on the field. The Colts are playing with house money. No one expected them to be this good, this quickly (except for myself), especially after the 1-5 start. The Colts are young, hungry, and no one believes they can make a deep run. That’s a dangerous set of ingredients.

2: Andrew Luck Will Carve Up This Houston Secondary

Andrew Luck is back, baby! It took him a few games to shake off the rust from missing an entire season but now Andrew Luck has returned to his old MVP form. Luck has always been good but now he has a real play caller with Frank Reich who has done an amazing job. The difference this year has been Luck’s ability to get the ball out fast resulting in fewer hits. Luck has attempted 639 throws this year. 331 of them came out in fewer than 2.5 seconds which is by far the most of his career. Add in a much improved offensive line with Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith up front and you start to realize why the Colts have been so good lately.

What isn’t being talked about enough is that the Houston secondary is swiss cheese. Houston ranks 28th against the pass. It doesn’t make a ton of sense because the players on the roster (Kareem Jackson, Jonathan Joseph, Justin Reid, and Tyrann Mathieu) are pretty good. In two games against Houston, Luck has thrown for 863 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Luck has torched this secondary all year so why can’t he do it again?

Luck threw for 39 touchdowns for a reason. The guy is unbelievable. Now he’s getting real protection getting sacked just 18 times all year. The Colts are dangerous now and moving forward.

3: The Colts Defense Is Better Than You Think

Since Week 7, the Colts have the number one scoring defense in the NFL. Not to also mention the fact that since Week 7, the Colts are the best team in the NFL owning the number one scoring differential. Remember the days with Peyton Manning where their defense sucked but they had Dwight Freeney? Well, this Colts unit is much better. This defense plays a very basic zone heavy style (leads the NFL in Cover 2 snaps) but they play it at 100 miles per hour.

Chris Ballard found a gem with Darius Leonard in the second round out of South Carolina State. I guess we all should have known Leonard would be a stud after his 17 tackle effort at the Senior Bowl. Leonard was named to the NFL’s All-Pro team as a rookie. All he does it make big plays.

By the way, the Texans offensive line is by far the worst in the NFL. Deshaun Watson has been pressured the most out of any quarterback in the NFL. Watson has also been sacked more than any quarterback as well. Statistically, Houston has the two worst offensive tackles in the entire league. That doesn’t include guard Martinas Rankin who is worse tackles Julie’n Davenport and Kendall Lamm.

I think the Colts front can really have an impact. Denico Autry is having a big year up the middle with 9 sacks. Both Temoko Turray and Jabaal Sheard can really take advantage of this offensive line. Plus, this Colts defense has real speed to it which is important considering Deshaun Watson’s rushing.

2019 NFL Wildcard Playoff Preview
Deshaun Watson has been tearing up the league with very little help (Photo Courtesy: TexansPR/Twitter)

WHY THE HOUSTON TEXANS WILL WIN

1: The Colts Have NO Answer For DeAndre Hopkins

The Texans are a two-man show. It’s Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. That’s it. They have NOTHING else on offense. The good news is that somehow has been enough to win 11 games. Nuk has probably been the best receiver in football. His running mate, Will Fuller, tore his ACL. Demaryius Thomas came over mid-season and then he tore his Achilles. Keke Coutee, Vyncint Smith, and DeAndre Carter are essentially bodies to stare at.

Hopkins is doubled on virtually every snap and he still wins. That’s enough to beat this Colts team. Hopkins has been targeted on 159 occasions this year. Hopkins has reeled in 115 of those. That’s a 72.3 percent conversion rate while the entire world knows that he is getting the ball. You know what else is even more insane? 0 drops. None. Zilch. Zero. Not all of these have been easy catches obviously. Nuk is a highlight reel every single week. Point to the shutdown corner that can stop Hopkins? I’ll wait.

2: Deshaun Watson ALWAYS Shines In Prime Time

Some guys have bigger nuts than others. Deshaun Watson always plays well if not better when the lights are brighter. Do you remember those battles against Alabama? Deshaun Watson always showed up in those games and even beat Bama his last go around. The drip, the swag, whatever you want to call it. That f*cker is good. No other way to say it.

Does anyone realize how good Watson is? Watson is dealing with the worst offensive line in the league. The Texans signal caller has the best passer rating in the entire league under pressure (88 passer rating under pressure). Watson thrives in chaos. He’s almost like Russell Wilson in that way and can win even under constant pressure. We have done this before where when Watson feels disrespected, he’s almost better. Now the love is starting to go towards Luck and Watson is ready.

3: The Texans Front Will Cause Problems

34 pressures. That’s how many times Andrew Luck faced pressure in two meetings against the Texans this year. 24 of those came from J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Watt is back to playing at a defensive player of the year level. Watt notched 75 pressures on the season and has always played the run well. Clowney has been damn good in his own right with a 9 sack season. Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham are a great linebacker duo.

The Texans have the ability to get after Andrew Luck. Defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel, can do that in numerous ways. We already talked about the Colts quick passing game. Defensively, the Texans can rush just four and really drop back in coverage. When you have Watt, Clowney, and even Whitney Mercilus, you can force pressure just four. Crennel’s ability to mix the play calling and design blitz packages can turn the tide of this game.

Houston ranks 1st in the NFL in rush defense according to DVOA. Stopping Marlon Mack and making the Colts one dimensional is priority number one. The Texans, however, rank 18th in DVOA against the pass. Lockdown T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron and the Texans are gold.

This game feels like a coin flip but I’m going with the Colts. They have a significantly better offensive line. Indy also seems like a team that is just improving as the season progresses. From what I’ve seen, Bill O’Brien’s play calling is way too conservative. It always feels like they never put their foot on the gas until they’re trailing and that’s a problem. I believe in the momentum the Colts have going. The nothing to lose attitude lives for another week.

Colts Beat Texans 27-20