Three Up, Three Down: Six Players Who Need a Bounceback Game Against the Texans

Offense

The Guards

Last week Seth Olsen and Mike McGlynn combined to have one of the worst games the guards have had all season (quite the feat considering the lack of talent on the interior line). Seth Olsen, as bad as he's been, allowed seven pressures against the Titans, tieing McGlynn's awful performance against Detroit for the most pressures allowed by a guard all season. McGlynn chipped in with five pressures against the Titans, as the Colts struggled to create a solid pocket for Luck all game. The two guards will have their hands full with a talented Houston defensive line, especially containing J.J. Watt. 

Andrew Luck

Yes, Andrew Luck's job in the second half on key throws, especially on 3rd and long and in the four minute offense, was key in the Colts' comeback. Nevertheless, it was one of Luck's worst performances of the year, as he threw a (technically should have been overturned) horrible interception that was returned for an interception. He was innaccurate on the day, and was clearly affected by the pressure put on him for most of the day. If the Colts are going to have a chance against a well-rounded Texans squad, they will need Luck to be at his best. 

Donnie Avery

Avery, despite catching a few key first down passes, still managed to hurt the Colts again this week, dropping two passes (none bigger than a third down drop in the endzone in the fourth quarter). Avery has had a few big games, but has also had some very poor games, and has been overtaken by T.Y. Hilton as the best deep threat. Avery has a lot of speed, and can get open downfield occasionally, but his hands are not dependable. Avery currently is 87 out of 90 receivers in drop rate. Against the Texans, Reggie Wayne will likely get a lot of attention from the Houston secondary (Houston is fifth in the league against #1 receivers, just 27th against #2), and Avery will need to have a big game. 

Defense

Cassius Vaughn

Wtih Vaughn, I need to clarify. If Vaughn can have a game like the second half of the Titans game (pick six and two passes defended) the Colts will be happy with him. However, he had a terrible first half, allowing Kenny Britt to run rampant on the Colts. The Colts generally have struggled with #1 receivers (22nd in the league), as shown by their struggles with Britt and Calvin Johnson in the last two weeks. Since they stubbornly keep their corners on the same side of the field all game, Vaughn will certainly be one-on-one with Andre Johnson at some point during the game. 

Dwight Freeney

It's no secret that Freeney's transition into the 3-4 has been rough. But he looked to be turning a corner against Buffalo and Detroit, posting +4.1 and +4.7 grades in those two games. But he struggled against the Titans, getting just two hurries in the game and failing to register a tackle. The Colts will not be able to defend the Texans' pass offense forever, and will need to make Matt Schaub uncomfortable. They will struggle to do that if Freeney is shut down. 

Moise Fokou

Fokou has generally been strong in pass coverage this season as a nickel linebacker, having a very good four game stretch from the Miami game to Buffalo. But he's done a poor job during the last two weeks, allowing tight ends in both weeks to get some crucial completions. Owen Daniels and James Casey have both have had productive years catching the football, and will likely be targeted on Sunday. Fokou will also need to be prepared for the Texans to run agains their nickel sets. 

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.

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