Sunday, December 16, 2012
Greetings from Reliant Stadium
By Paul Kuharsky
HOUSTON -- Greetings from Reliant Stadium where we are approaching kickoff of the biggest game between division teams this season so far.
The big lineup/personnel question is about the Colts' offensive line, where A.Q. Shipley is in at center for the injured Samson Satele and Jeff Linkenbach is in at right tackle for the injured Winston Justice.
The Texans’ pass rush beyond J.J. Watt has largely stalled, and it would be giant if the outside linebackers, Connor Barwin and Whitney Mercilus, could generate some consistent pressure or make some big plays against quarterback Andrew Luck.
It was pouring outside when I came in at about 9:30 a.m. CT. The Reliant Stadium roof is pretty much always closed, so there was no doubt it was going to be closed today. Fans here often stay away rather than venturing out into the rain, the Houston Chronicle's John McClain tells me. It will be interesting to see if the weather manages to help the Colts by keeping some people away and making it a bit less loud. The over-under for when I dry out is halftime. I'm taking the over.
A couple notes of interest heading into this game, thanks to ESPN Stats & Information:
- Luck needs 260 passing yards to break Cam Newton’s rookie record of 4,051 set last season.
- The Colts have allowed 3.2 yards per rush before first contact this season, the fourth-worst rate in the NFL. The Texans have rushed by design 48.1 percent of the time this season, second-highest in the NFL.
- The Texans are coming off a 28-point loss to the Patriots, their largest margin of defeat since 2008. According to Elias Sports Bureau, only four of the 46 Super Bowl winners lost a game by at least 28 points: the 2003 Patriots, 1994 49ers, 1979 Steelers and 1976 Raiders.
- Arian Foster has 46 touchdowns over the past three seasons, 12 more than any other player.
- Over the last four games, the Texans are allowing a league-high 439.0 yards per game. Through nine games this season, the Texans were second in the NFL in total defense, allowing 281.6 yards per game.
The full list of inactives: