I pushed writing this entry off intentionally, trying to collect as much information as to who would be starting for Indianapolis as possible before the game. However, thinking about it, it really shouldn’t matter. Houston is clearly the better team here. Better defense, better run game (or should be), better offensive line, etc. The only thing Indianapolis has better is at the quarterback position, and debatably a greater amount of weapons. But when taking it all in, isn’t the quarterback position the things that matters most? Perhaps.
Personally, I like to try to decide who should win a game based on two major factors: defense and offensive line, with injuries and what-not added in on the side. These are the starting points I use when deciding on who to choose for games. However, that’s not to say I always choose whoever has those two key advantages (see: Dallas @ New Orleans, Week Four). There are far too many variables to be completely comfortable choosing who will win the game. Picking is practically like adding up statistical data to conclude who has the better chance of winning. Very rarely do I go into a game absolutely certain that one team will beat the other. Those cases will often conclude with satirical entries accompanied with my pick (see: Jacksonville @ New England, Week Three).
This is one such case where it’s hard to really choose a winner, as both teams have their fair share of problems. Indianapolis is looking to start Matt Hasselbeck, who I adore, but he’s also two days removed from spending a night in the hospital due to a virus. He also didn’t provide much offense against Jacksonville’s defense. Houston’s defense is better than Jacksonville’s. And they’re playing in Houston. Point in favor of Houston. However, Houston is having a quarterback issue of its own, as head coach Bill O’Brien can’t seem to settle on either Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett, as both have performed lackluster when given the opportunity. Mallett is starting tonight and is the starter that gave Houston their only win of the season thus far against Tampa Bay. That’s a far cry, though, from him being the “solidified” starter. I can only imagine a scenario where Mallett can’t get anything going for two quarters, only for Hoyer to come in a perform better, but not enough to win.
While I like to look for offensive line and defensive advantages, the key factor in this game is quarterback. Do I go with the sick, old veteran in Hasselbeck to lead the offense to a sufficient amount of points? Or do I pick the shaky Ryan Mallett, a game removed from being benched for poor performance? This game may be settled on the part of the defense, in which J.J. Watt sticks out like a quarterback’s sore shoulder. It should be a close game, seeing as the starting quarterbacks are qualified back-up material, but a solid run game should be able to help boost either of these teams quickly into the endzone. An aging Frank Gore? Or Alfred Blue and a not-quite-healthy Arian Foster? Houston looks better in almost every category, including offensive line, but my heart is calling to me. Indianapolis! Matt Hasselbeck! Houston’s quarterback situation will be their demise!
Fuck it. I’m 0-4 in Thursday Night games anyway.