HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – At 7-6, the Houston Texans will likely need to win their last to make the playoffs.
But for Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien, the postseason starts Sunday in Indianapolis against the AFC South leading Colts.
“This game right here is a playoff game,” said O’Brien. “This is a big game. It’s a division game. They’re the number one team in our division right now. And they’ve got a two game lead on us. They’re 9-4. We’re 7-6. It’s a big game!”
It’s a tall order for a franchise that is 0-12 all-time in Indy. A statistic that O’Brien – in his first year as head coach – knows too.
“We’re well aware that we have not won there,” said O’Brien. “But at the same time, this is a totally different team than any of those teams in the past.”
The Colts though, aren’t a whole lot different. They had Peyton Manning at quarterback for the first 9 of their home victories against the Texans. This year, Andrew Luck will look for his third straight win over Houston at Lucas Oil Field.
“This guy is a great pocket passer,” said O’Brien. “He’s great on the move. He has all facets of [what you’re looking for in] a quarterback. His athletic ability, is really excellent.”
O’Brien wasn’t done raving about the Colts’ quarterback.
“He’s a very confident quarterback right now,” said O’Brien. “He’s a great competitor. And he’s a big strong guy who has a great arm. A very accurate passer. And he never thinks that the play is over. He competes to the last second. He is going after it, trying to make plays for his team. He’s a very smart quarterback.”
Luck’s go to target is wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. This past Sunday against the Browns, he had 10 catches for 150 yards and 2 TDs. And in 5 games against the Texans, Hilton has 31 catches for 611 yards with 6 TDs.
“He’s one of the best receivers in the league,” said O’Brien. “He’s fast, he’s got good hands, he’s a great route runner. He’s going to get his production . . . Anytime you’ve got a guy like that, it’s very very difficult to just say you’re going to stop this guy.”
If you can’t stop Hilton, then what can you do as a defense?
“We have to make sure that we know where he is on every single play,” said O’Brien. “We have a lot of respect for him as a receiver. He’s one of the best receivers we’ve played against this year.”
The last time the Texans played the Colts, they rallied from down 24-0 . . . only to lose 33-28. This time around, O’Brien knows they can’t spot Indianapolis that many points.
“The thing that happened in the last Indianapolis game cannot happen,” said O’Brien. “If it does, we have no chance. We cannot allow a surprise onside [kick]. We cannot turn the ball over. We can’t get down like that to a really good football team and expect to win, especially on the road.”
Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson suffered a concussion against the Jaguars Sunday. O’Brien said the veteran receiver has to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol – and as it stands right now he’s “day to day”.
Paul Gallant hosts the “B-Straw and Pauly G” show – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM – with Brien Straw. Get in contact with Paul on Twitter – @PaulyGSays – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant.
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