NFC Wild Card Playoff 2019: NFC, AFC Postseason Picture and Wild–Card Predictions Divisional foes Houston and Indianapolis are facing off for the third time this season Saturday, while Baltimore and the Los Angeles Chargers renew hostilities after their Week 16 clash.
Seattle and Dallas played in Week 3, which is less of an indicator of how Saturday night’s NFC wild–card game will play out since both teams were still finding their feet at that point of the year.
Philadelphia and Chicago are the only teams meeting for the first time this season, but by the time they square off at Soldier Field, they’ll be more than familiar with how each other approaches the game.
The Indianapolis Colts are one poor overtime decision away from holding a 2-0 record against the Houston Texans and earning a home playoff game as the No. 3 seed and AFC South champion.
Although they didn’t pick up their second victory until three weeks after losing to Houston at home, the Colts rebounded in the second half of the regular season and reeled off four straight wins to clinch a playoff berth.
Unlike some No. 6 seeds, the Colts won’t be scared in the slightest of going down to NRG Stadium to face the Texans, as they won in Houston in Week 14 by three points.
Andrew Luck is 6-4 in his career against the Texans, and he threw for 399 yards in his latest trip to Houston.
Luck’s found trouble winning on the road in the postseason, as he’s 1-3 with the only win coming against Denver in the divisional round of the 2014 season, but the Colts won in their last two trips to NRG Stadium.
Houston comes into the wild–card round with a 6-2 home record, as the other defeat came at the hands of the New York Giants in Week 3.
Although their home defeats came at different junctures of the season, the Texans were hurt by the opposing quarterback in both games.
In Week 3, Eli Manning completed 25 of his 29 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns, while Luck eclipsed that total by 102 yards.
Houston’s powerful defensive line, led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, must get pressure on the quarterback, but their struggles in Week 16 against Philadelphia could come back to haunt them.
Colts coach Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia a year ago. Since he takes a similar approach to the game, he’ll find ways in his scheme to allow his offensive line to shut down Watt and Clowney, much like the Eagles did at Lincoln Financial Field.
Putting pressure on the quarterback won’t be an issue for Indianapolis, as it faces a Houston offensive line that gave up 62 sacks on Watson.
By controlling the line of scrimmage on defense, the Colts set up Luck and Co. with a short field on a few occasions, which they’ll take advantage of to win in the wild–card round.