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This could be it. The Indianapolis Colts have their backs against • Absender: liny195, 02.07.2019 08:33

the wall against a very hot Houston Texans team that continues to outperform expectations. A disappointing loss a week ago in Jacksonville was a big blow to Indy’s playoff hopes and a consecutive loss in Houston could very well seal the deal. In the last meeting , Andrew Luck and the offense got out to a slow start. The Texans entered half time with a 21 - 10 lead and it took two fourth quarter touchdowns for the Colts to pull even. With the help of a Kai Fairbairn missed field goal from 59-yards, Indianapolis was able to force overtime.A decision to go for it in Colts territory with the overtime period drawing close to its end backfired. The offense failed to convert on 4th-and-4 and the Texans capitalized by completing one big pass and taking a late field goal to earn the victory. Since that game, the Texans haven’t lost. Coming into that game, the Texans were 0-3.The team that helped the Texans start its winning streak must also be responsible for ending it, on the road. Even if Indianapolis succeeds, it will need help to have a chance at wildcard spot. If the team doesn’t, the remainder of the season will be about getting ready for 2019.Here are the keys to the game.KEEP DESHAUN WATSON UNCOMFORTABLEEarly in the 2018 season, the Colts were very effective at putting pressure on opposing signal-callers. In Week 4, Indianapolis sacked Deshaun Watson 7 times and totaled 11 quarterback hits. Even with all of this pressure, Watson amassed 375 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Even with that kind of pressure, the Texans won the game.Imagine the outcome if Watson had a clean pocket all day. The Colts have struggled to effectively shutdown opponents through the air all season. Houston feels very good about utilizing its numerous weapons to attack an inconsistent secondary. One important way to make this difficult is to keep the pressure up and force Watson to make throws out of the pocket, which may lead to make mistakes.BRACKET HOPKINSDeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the NFL. He has the talent to take over a game and deliver major blows to the Colts upset chances on the road. While Matt Eberflus likes to run a zone shell defense, he needs to assign his best press man corner to Hopkins and keep the pressure on. There should be over the top coverage shading to his side on every play.Another key is to be ready for Hopkins’ tendency to push off and interfere to gain separation. It is a nasty habit and Hopkins gets away with it all of the time. Being prepared to accentuate and point out when Hopkins breaks this rule can help frustrate him and slow down Houston’s offense.MUST MAINTAIN BALANCEThere is no denying the fact that the Colts struggled to run in Jacksonville. Based upon the limited production, it could appear reasonable that Frank Reich and Andrew Luck essentially abandoned the running game. It was a bad choice. Look at what the Titans were able to do to the same Jaguars defense days later.The point is, it is more difficult for any defense to play against a team that is able to maintain balance. Well-timed draws or screen passes, or simply the use of quick-release patterns can help put a defense back on its heels. In games where the Colts have remained balanced, they have won. When they haven’t stayed balanced, they have lost. Sometimes this is a function of score, playing from behind or with a lead. Last week it wasn’t. Reich and Luck need to find a way to keep the backs involved.BIG PLAYS/TURNOVERSOn offense, Andrew Luck, his receivers and running backs must be responsible with the football. Turnovers in this game could be catastrophic. The Texans offense is dangerous enough without help. Giving it a short field at home is an awful way to win the game.On the other hand Christine Michael Sr Jersey , members of the Colts defense have to come up with big plays. This is a game where the Maniac needs to take over in the middle of the field. This is a game where someone in the secondary needs to make a big play and it could be a chance for Quincy Wilson or Malik Hooker to flash their ball hawkish ways.This is a theme for every game, the team who makes more big plays and who wins the turnover battle will typically win. In order to keep their postseason hops alive against a divisional opponent on the road, the Colts will need to be that team.OFFENSIVE LINE MUST GELThe Colts offensive line has been one of the team’s biggest stories. Rookies Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith have paired with veteran guard Mark Glowinski to effectively cure what has longed ailed a struggling unit. A historic run of not allowing a sack or hit on quarterback Andrew Luck unraveled after starting center Ryan Kelly went down with a knee injury.It is unreasonable for fans to expect Chris Ballard to continue to pull rabbits out of his hat, replacing former starters with players who consistently play at or above the same level. Expecting Evan Boehm to play as well as a former first round pick, who happened to be putting together the best season of his career, is unrealistic. However, if continuity on the inside can be established until Kelly returns, the line can be effective.The offensive line will also need to find a way to make up for the loss of Jack Doyle. He was the best blocking tight end on the roster and his absence had a profound impact in Jacksonville. If the offensive line can keep Luck clean, there is reason to believe that Luck can out duel Watson and the Texans offense. If not, this could turn into another long day. ATLANTA (AP) — Patrick Mahomes' breathtaking breakthrough season earned him the NFL's Most Valuable Player award.The Chiefs quarterback landed a pair of honors at NFL Honors on Saturday night, taking The Associated Press 2018 MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards. In his second pro season, Mahomes led Kansas City to its first AFC title game since 1993 with some of the most creative and clutch plays the league has seen in years."I'm so humbled," he said. "This is just the beginning. We've got a long ways to go. "It is an honor. It's a hard award to win. The next award I hope I can get is the Super Bowl."Mahomes received 41 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees got the other nine.With only one previous start, Mahomes entered the season as something of a curiosity in Kansas City after the Chiefs traded veteran Alex Smith to open up the job. It didn't take long to erase any doubts as Mahomes led the Chiefs to their first AFC title game since the 1993 season, throwing for 50 touchdowns, 5,097 yards and had a 113.8 QB rating, trailing only Brees.Mahomes' ingenuity — the guy can throw from all angles and make plays inside and outside the pocket — energized the Chiefs' fan base and excited fans across the league."The play is never dead. He can find new ways to get you the ball," Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce said. "It may look like a screwball, a slider here or there, but it'll get to you eventually."Mahomes is the sixth straight quarterback and 11th of the past 12 years to win MVP. No Kansas City player had won the award since the Chiefs joined the NFL in 1970.Earlier, he was selected as the top offensive player Pat McAfee Color Rush Jersey , beating Brees 30 votes to 16."Yeah, I mean, it's awesome … I got put into a great situation," he said. "I got to learn behind a great quarterback in Alex Smith. I got to be on a team with a lot of playmakers who helped me excel my game and make me look really good on a daily basis. And, then, to be able to go out there and win football games in front of a passionate fan base is something I get the luxury of doing."Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who will play in Sunday's Super Bowl against New England, took his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award.Donald, the only unanimous All-Pro this season and the first Rams player selected for top defensive honor, joins Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt as players to win the award in back-to-back seasons. Donald led the NFL with 20½ sacks."Any time you put a body of work into it and then it pays off," Donald said, "and you're rewarded for it, it means a lot. It's a blessing."Chicago's Matt Nagy, in his first season with the Bears, was voted Coach of the Year.Nagy has overseen the development of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who blossomed in his second pro season, and saw a defense befitting the "Monsters of the Midway" dominate opponents at times. He is the fifth Bears coach to win the award, joining team founder George Halas (1963, 1965), Mike Ditka (1985, 1988), Dick Jauron (2001) and Lovie Smith (2005)."It's crazy to think this is one person , so for me, it's being a part of this organization and for our players," Nagy said. "Just being able to believe in what we wanted to do with our culture and then follow through with it."Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was chosen the Comeback Player of the Year, following a lost 2017 season to a shoulder injury with a sensational 2018 campaign."I truly believe there are players on every team, every roster that could be Comeback Player of the Year in their own ways," he said. "Honestly, the best part was playing football again — having fun playing football and being pain free."Giants running back Saquon Barkley was the top offensive rookie, while the defensive rookie award went to Indianapolis linebacker Darius Leonard.Described by some as a "generational running back," Barkley rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns behind a weak New York offensive line. He drew 26½ votes and edged Baker Mayfield. The Cleveland quarterback who was selected first overall in the draft, one spot in front of Barkley, earned 21½ votes.Barkley also made a team-high 91 receptions for 721 yards, and his 2,028 yards from scrimmage led the NFL.For his work as defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, Vic Fangio got the head coaching gig in Denver. He also won The Associated Press 2018 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award on Saturday.Philadelphia Eagles DE Chris Long won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for community service."I don't know, I'm very humbled," Long said. "It's hard to feel deserving with those guys on stage and, obviously, this guy right here on the statue. It's a very heavy statue and it makes sense because his legacy is immense. I'm just honored."

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