It doesn't seem like there is a lot to be hopeful about with all the rumors swirling around Peyton's injury. Many 'fans' give the Colts no chance and keep focusing on the depressing fact that 18 won't be leading our team. You can say you're just being realistic, but I have watched where pessimism leads 'fans' and it's not fun for anyone involved. Instead, let's focus on and get excited about this week's game and why the Colts WILL beat the Texans this week. The Texans are who we think they are and if you want to crown their ass, go ahead an crown them! But I won't let them off the hook and here's why:
1. Arian Foster will not play
Arian Foster hasn't touched the football field to practice since he injured his hamstring in a preseason game against the 49ers. Forget the MRI and whether it was real or not. This guy had 2 hamstring injuries in less than a month. I doubt they rush him back again and I don't think they'll even have a choice. I don't think he can touch the field and even if he does he won't be 100%. It might actually be favorable for him to try and play because generally players come back slowed from the hamstring injury that previously plagued them. Regardless, you can't expect him to be as effective as the 2010 opener and it's not only because of the hamstring which brings me to reason #2.
2. Vontae Leach is a Baltimore Raven
I will not give Arian Foster all of the credit for his 231yds and 3 TDs in his 2010 debut against the Colts. I believe Vantae Leach is the man who made it possible and that he was a crippling loss for the Texans in the off-season. I do not have Foster's big runs burned in my mind from that game, but instead I keep picturing Leach blowing up the Colts' linebacker and sometimes even 2 on the same play. This guy made a huge difference for the team and he will be sorely missed.
3. The Colts' D-Line and Linebackers
While they are lacking the true undertackle, the Colts D-Line IS improved. Freeney and Mathis are both as healthy as they've ever been and their have been upgrades in the front 7. Session is gone, but welcomed additions are Drake Nevis, Jamaal Anderson, Tyler Brayton, Ernie Sims, and Adrian Moten. I can't wait to see Nevis get after Schaub and the rest of the group should be much more effective stopping the run than the 2010 Colts.
4. Healthy Starters
Austin Collie and Antoine Bethea returned to practice today, Dallas Clark is back in action, Joseph Addai will start, and Melvin Bullitt is back for the year. These are all players that improve the effectiveness of this team and each could make a pro-bowl in any give year (yes I know Bullitt doesn't seem likely, but I'm optimistic about what he can do when he has been playing with the first team all year.) Sure they almost definitely won't all be pro-bowlers, but these are exactly the type of players that step up and make a difference when they are called upon.
5. The Colts are not a 1-man team
The Colts still have the #1 Wide Receiver Corps in the NFL. They have players trending upward like Angerer, Pat McAffee, Drake Nevis, and Anthony Costanzo. They have plugged serious deficiencies or recovered from problematic areas last year such as stopping the run, short yardage rushing, and strong safety. The Colts adapt. The run will become a very large part of this offense and set up Kerry Collins to make bigger plays to the wide receivers. There are serious strengths on both sides of the ball and the Colts have the advantage.
Other notable mentions:
Texans don't get much of an idea of what to game plan for. Will it be Kerry Collins arm, Joseph Addai's legs, or a Bruising from rookie Delone Carter leading the way?
It will take a while for Wade Philips new defensive scheme to take affect.
The Texans are still terrible in the secondary.
The Texans are predictable
The Texans are terrible when playing the role of favorite.