An all important match-up between two AFC South rivals could be a contest of backups.
Already without Andrew Luck the Colts saw backup Matt Hasselbeck get beaten and battered in a blowout loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. Hasselbeck’s fantasy sports stock took a big hit when he was spotted wearing a sling on his left arm after the game and head coach Chuck Pagano said the 40-year-old would rest Wednesday before seeing if he could practice on Thursday.
Charlie Whitehurst is next up for the Colts. Whitehurst is nothing more than a check down artist who has bounced around the league. For an offense already turning anemic over the last two games his inclusion into the lineup does little to help the values of T.Y. Hilton, Donte Monceief or Andre Johnson.
The situation is equally dire with the Texans. Brian Hoyer has hardly been among the leagues best quarterbacks thanks in part to inconsistent play – which was televised nationally on Sunday in a loss to the Patriots. Still Hoyer was the best option the Texans and head coach Bill O’Brien had.
Hoyer already had suffered one concussion this season which forced him to miss a game. He was diagnosed with another Sunday makes he chances he plays against the Colts in this pivotal game bleak at best. If Hoyer does not go then the Texans will have to start T.J. Yates.
Yates had had success before with the Texans in big games. During his rookie season of 2013 he filled in for an injured Matt Schaub and delivered a regular season win over the Bengals. He again led the Texans to a win over the Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs.
If Yates does play the expectations of Denard Hopkins and Nate Washington likely take a hit as the Texans may go with a more run focused attack featuring Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk.
Despite that success, Yates was buried on the depth chart and only becomes an option with Hoyer out. Given that the Texans had ill tempered Ryan Mallet on the roster over Yates speaks volumes about the view of the now 28-year-old who was born in Indianapolis.
The Colts were awful in the second half of their blowout loss to the Jaguars in Week 14 while the Texans were able to hang around with the Patriots for much of the game before the mismatch became clear. When these two meet on Sunday they will be on equal footing and quite possibly with backups. With both teams 6-7 entering this one the division lead is up for grabs.