FBG says: Bad matchup. The Colts running game has taken big steps since its weak start to the year, and last week probably shouldn't be held against them. Hampered by game flow against a swarming run defense, Marlon Mack managed just 27 yards over 8 carries. Still, Mack is in the midst of an under-the-radar breakout since his Week 6 return from injury. He's been shut-down twice by Jacksonville but has racked up 493 yards in his other 5 games over that stretch, averaging a robust 5.67 per rush. Rookie spark plug Nyheim Hines provides change-of-pace help but hasn't been effective of late, posting just 50 yards over the last 4 weeks. In most game scripts, Mack is the featured weapon on the ground and reaps the benefits of the Colts' high-octane offense. And he runs behind one of the league's most improved lines, led by outstanding rookie guard Quenton Nelson.
Simply put, no one runs on the Texans. That's not hyperbole - opposing lead runners are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and 55 per game, and only 4 have reached 60. Over the past few weeks, they've shut down a handful of red-hot backs, including Phillip Lindsay (17 for 60) and Nick Chubb (9 for 31). There's rarely room to maneuver when J.J. Watt is on the field, and he's fully healthy in the midst of arguably his best season ever. Watt and nose tackle D.J. Reader tend to control the line of scrimmage, allowing the good-not-great linebacking corps to both lock down gaps and pursue. Marlon Mack has his work cut out for him as he navigates this unit.