The winner of this game will advance to the playoffs, and if the Jaguars lose on Sunday, the winner will win the AFC South and host a playoff game next weekend, so the stakes are high in this game. The Texans are a different team with a healthy C.J. Stroud and the Colts will get their do-everything running back Jonathon Taylor back for the game. This looks to be a tight matchup that will go down to the wire.
At home, Indianapolis will attempt to sweep the Texans this season by starting Gardner Minshew (Anthony Richardson started in Week 2) and Jonathan Taylor (who had been on injured reserve prior) is ready to play for this game, it will be interesting to see their impact on an offense that scored 31 points in that week 2 game. On average, Indianapolis averages 23.6 points per game (10th), rising to 26.5 at home where their points per giveaway is 16th (they rank 16th against sacks allowed, 16th in rushing average and 22nd in passing average). They have scored at least 21 points each home game since Week 1, keeping this streak alive if they wish for a postseason appearance.
The Colts defense has been an issue. They rank 27th in points against (24.5), allowing an average of 25.8 per game against their home opponents – That being said, 49 sacks (5th best in league) and 24 takeaways have kept opponents at bay, and have faced more snaps than any other in the league (52 yards per play, with respectable numbers against both pass and run). Can Indianapolis finish out their regular season strong on defense?
Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud – chosen second overall in the 2023 NFL Draft – could help spark an instantaneous turnaround for Houston; this is a different team from when these two last played. Stroud has proven that he is indeed a franchise quarterback and the defense is much better than back then.
The Texanns will look to improve upon the 31 points they allowed against Indianapolis in Week 2; currently 13th in scoring defense with 20.9 points allowed. Houston ranks second-fewest yards per rush (3.3), 10th in sacks (45), 23 takeaways and ranks 30th overall with 7.8 yards allowed per attempt (30th). Last week, however, only three yards per attempt were given up as they secured an important divisional win. Can they do it again?
Houston’s weakness is defending the pass, but they have been solid against the run giving up just 3.3 ypc. The Texan’s biggest advantage is rookie sensation C.J. Stroud, and Stroud will be why the Texans win this game and make it to the playoffs. Texans 31 Colts 23.
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