The non-stars who need to show up for their team to win

Who better ball for Colts and Texans

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You know the big names. Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson at quarterback. T.Y. Hilton and DeAndre Hopkins catching the ball from them. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney trying to make Luck run for his life. There's plenty of star power to go around in this game. The stars almost always show up in these games. With the stars performances almost a forgone conclusion we get to the next level of players. These players are non-stars who can turn the tide of the game.

Who better ball for the Colts or Texans to win the game? Let's find out.

Keke Coutee

Now, it is unknown if he is even going to play in this game. The Texans rookie wideout has played very little this season due to a hamstring injury. He is officially questionable and a game-time decision but it would make sense he is playing because if he wasn't the Texans have been wasting a roster spot on him.

He was magnificent in his NFL debut against the Colts earlier this season. It was his first NFL game action period as he missed the preseason with the hamstring injury. He caught 11 passes for 109 yards making clutch plays for Watson and the offense. If healthy and available, he provides an element the Texans don't have and would be tough to scheme for with the limited looks at him.

Dontrelle Inman

The former Canadian Football League pass catcher joined the Colts mid season and while it has taken some time for him to gel with the offense he's shown incredible talent the past two weeks. He's caught 11 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Now while it might not seem like a lot he stepped up when Hilton was ailing and the Texans have struggled to cover anyone on the Colts. Add to the fact they haven't faced Inman yet and he is a player to watch.

Christian Covington

The Texans defensive lineman has had the most success this year against the AFC South. He absolutely mauled the Titans a little over a month ago and he sacked Luck the last time these two teams met. The Colts do a very solid job of neutralizing the Texans edge rushes with their quick passing game and even when they do risk a big drop back they have stymied Watt and Clowney more than a few times. Covington's ability to rush from the middle of the line is invaluable in this game. Especially if Clowney is rushing with him occupying Colts linemen. Covington will have to win solo battles and make plays.

Pierre Desir

He is one of the best stories on the field. A son to Haitian immigrants who played at Division II schools and was called the Division II Richard Sherman spent time as a temp agent to make money for a family he had when he was very young. Drafted by the Browns and bouncing around the NFL until he ended up playing for the Colts. He is maybe the most important player on the Colts defense. He got lit up in the first game between the Texans and the Colts. Last game though, he shadowed Hopkins and the best receiver in the NFL turned in his worst game with just four catches and 36 yards total. If Desir plays that way against Hopkins again, simply, the Colts win.

Slow to make big moves hasn't equaled a drop in potential for Texans

Texans are better despite slow free agency

The Texans are better today than when the season ended. It isn't a huge improvement, and there is room for far more improvement, but they're better.

Despite some people's frustration with the Texans not making moves they really haven't missed out on much, the draft is where they will truly improve, and people aren't remembering how good, or bad, they were last season.

Tyrann Mathieu is not $20 million better than Tashaun Gipson. I don't even believe Mathieu was the right type of safety for the Texans. He was a mismatch problem on bigger players, specifically tight ends where Gipson thrives. Mathieu was the third best safety on the team last season not playing as well as Kareem Jackson when he was at safety or the total body of Justin Reid who impressed in his rookie season. While the leadership aspect can't be denied, the Texans praised repeatedly the locker room personality Mathieu brought, the team doesn't lack for leaders.

Gipson has had more success in recent years statistically than Mathieu and plays a different style. You'll notice far less tackles and no sacks to Gipson's stat line. He will be asked to cover more than Mathieu was and his success in recent seasons shows he can do that well. He hasn't had to clean up a lot of messes in the Jaguars secondary, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye held their own, his experience playing deep will hopefully help handle the lack of top talent at cornerback for the Texans.

Speaking of cornerback, if that is where Kareem Jackson was going to play for the Texans in 2019 then there is no loss whatsoever in seeing him leave. He was not good as a corner last year after a really solid start to the year as a safety. Bradley Roby is more physically gifted and took a prove-it deal to try to hit the market with more buzz than this year. I would have preferred Jackson sticking around as a safety but alas the Texans didn't seem to see his value there.

Wholesale changes on the offensive line did almost nothing to improve it last season so I am not sure why some fans and media have desired that again. Yes, they shouldn't have been outbid on Roger Saffold (Titans) by a division rival who has invested greatly in their offensive line. No, Trent Brown (Raiders) and his bloated contract wasn't the answer at left tackle. Matt Paradis is coming off a broken leg at the center spot though he would have been an upgrade at center.

It is clear help on the line is coming via the draft, a deep one along the line might I add. With three picks in the top two rounds there will be opportunities to find players to push Nick Martin, Senio Kelemete, and Julién Davenport and it isn't out of the question. Seantrell Henderson despite his new contract is pushed by a rookie as well. This is a fine plan as only Nick Martin was a top round pick of any of the Texans current offensive linemen.

Also, this team won 11 games last season. Don't let a disappointing playoff performance skew how this team played. Deshaun Watson is going to improve and that is the most important thing about this team. He won't take as many hits as he did last season with draft investment and improvement of players on the roster. The rookie tight ends have a year of seasoning under their belt. D'Onta Foreman and Keke Coutee should be healthy and eventually Will Fuller will return. The defense returns or has replaced key figures.

Acting like this is a team that had to spend money just because they had cap space isn't a smart way to look at this team. Typically a team sucks when they have this much cap space, the Texans didn't fall into that category. Is there still room for improvement? No doubt. There's also room to find multiple bargains, be a destination for a trade post-draft, and pay Clowney. Relax, this is a long offseason. The Texans are better today than last week.

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