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Friday, December 28, 2012
Texans, Schaub face pressure in Indy

By ESPN Stats & Information


USA TODAY SportsWho has the edge in Week 17: Matt Schaub or Andrew Luck?
Two weeks ago the Houston Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts, 29-17, denying the Colts their 10th win of the season. On Sunday Indianapolis will look to get revenge against its AFC South rival.

If history is any indication, the Colts should have the advantage on paper. The Texans are 0-10 all-time on the road against the Colts. That’s tied for the most road losses vs an opponent without a win in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

What the game means
The Texans can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or losses by the Broncos and Patriots. Houston can also clinch a first-round bye with a loss by the Broncos or Patriots.

The Colts are already locked into the 5-seed in the AFC but still have plenty to play for. This will be the first game with Chuck Pagano on the sidelines since the Colts head coach was diagnosed with leukemia in early October.

When the Texans have the ball
Matt Schaub has struggled in the past few weeks with just one touchdown pass in his last three games. He has been sacked eight times during this stretch, after entering Week 14 with the second-lowest sack rate in the league (min. 200 attempts).

Schaub hasn’t been able to handle the blitz recently, posting a Total QBR of 47.3 against five-or-more pass rushers in his last three games, compared to a 67.8 QBR before this stretch.

The Colts have blitzed at a rate of 40.6 percent, more often than all but two teams this season. However, their Total QBR allowed using at least five pass rushers ranks only 16th in the league.

Schaub will be happy to see Arian Foster in the backfield on Sunday after he missed much of last week's game with an irregular heartbeat. Foster has rushed for 164 yards per game versus the Colts.

According to Elias, the only player to rush for more yards per game versus a single opponent (minimum three games) is Earl Campbell, who rushed for 164.3 yards per game against the Vikings.

When the Colts have the ball
Andrew Luck is the most prolific rookie quarterback in NFL history, but he has struggled with his accuracy recently. Luck has completed less than half of his passes in each of his last four games.

The only other player in the last 10 seasons to have a completion rate below 50 percent in four straight games, with at least 20 attempts in each game, is Mark Sanchez this year.

He will be challenged to get above the 50 percent mark against the Texans. Luck has had more of his passes defended (77) than any other quarterback in the league, 17 of which have been batted at the line of scrimmage.

The Texans defense has defended an NFL-best 80 passes this season, including a league-leading 27 batted passes.

Stat of the game
With a win Sunday, the Colts would become the seventh team in NFL history to win at least nine games more than in their previous season. Of the six other teams to post at least a nine-game improvement, only the 1999 Rams went on to win the Super Bowl/League championship that season.