The Indianapolis Colts will travel to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas for another divisional matchup. Week 2 will feature the season’s first rookie-vs-rookie outing as CJ Stroud attempts to defend his turf against Anthony Richardson.
Date/Time: September 17th, 2023, 1 PM ET
Weather Forecast: 89 degrees F, Sunny
Broadcast Crew: Chris Myers (play-by-play), Robert Smith (color analyst), and Jen Hale (sideline reporter)
Stream: Fubo, NFL Sunday Ticket
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan and 97.1 HANK FM
Radio Crew: Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Rick Venturi (color analyst), and Larra Overton (sideline reporter)
Referee Assignment: Carl Cheffers
Despite a divisional loss at home in Week 1, Indy is absolutely buzzing in the early football season. The fans cannot wait to see this team back on the field. That’s mostly due to the polarizing, young QB leading the Colts.
Indy will travel to Texas this week to face off with another division rival, the Houston Texans. The Colts (0-1) are looking to bounce back from a 31-21 loss at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, the Texans (0-1) are also looking for their first win after a 25-9 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
This game will be the 44th between the familiar foes. Indianapolis leads the series with a 32-10-1 record. Shane Steichen and the Colts are hoping to add another one to the win column in this series.
The biggest storyline for this matchup is easily the quarterbacks. 2nd overall pick, CJ Stroud and 4th overall pick, Anthony Richardson should get used to seeing each other. Both have been handed the keys to their respective franchises.
Richardson was impressive in his NFL debut and it could be argued that he had the most impressive rookie QB showing. He completed 24 of 37 passing attempts for 223 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. On the ground, he rushed 10 times for 40 yards and 1 touchdown.
Colts fans will be looking for more of the same from Anthony. One of the knocks on Richardson was his ability to hit the short to intermediate passes. In the game against the Jaguars, he did plenty to prove that wrong. But we would all love to mix in some deep shots.
Anthony Richardson's passing chart from his first game. It's very heavy on the right side of the field and nothing over 20 yards.
His interception came on one of his limited throws to the left side of the field. pic.twitter.com/BhlKyIFTmi
— Cody Manning (@CodyTalksNFL) September 11, 2023
On the other side, Stroud didn’t have a bad debut by any means. He completed 28 of 44 passing attempts for 242 yards. However, the Texans were only able to score with 3 field goals from Ka’imi Fairbairn. CJ added 4 rushing attempts for 20 yards.
Stroud will see a young, inexperienced secondary for the Colts. Expect the Texans to test those guys in the passing game. With the Houston offensive line giving up 5 sacks last week, the Colts should be looking to send pressure as much as they can. Stroud did lose a fumble last week as well.
What To Expect
On the Indy side of things, I believe the playbook will be opened up a bit more for number 5. The offensive line was exceptional in pass protection, but run blocking was the complete opposite. They will certainly try to improve the run game, which will only open things up for the athletic quarterback even more.
The Texans have a lot of talent on their defense, especially along the defensive line. 3rd overall pick, Will Anderson Jr. is a promising young pass-rusher. Indy will have their hands full blocking him.
The Colts would benefit heavily from getting the ball to their playmaker wide receivers, Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs. If either gets the ball in space, they have a chance to gash the defense for a chunk play.
For the defense, Gus Bradley should be looking to pressure the young QB, Stroud. Despite the inexperience, the secondary has talent and speed. The kind of speed that can give a rookie quarterback trouble. I’m expecting another big day from the defensive line.
The star-studded linebacker unit should be able to keep Dameon Pierce in check on the ground. Zaire Franklin is coming off of a huge game with 17 tackles, a pass deflection, and a fumble forced. We all know Shaq Leonard is a turnover waiting to happen.
For Houston, they will look to feed Pierce and get a run game going early. They want to open up the field for their rookie and give him easy reads. Stroud’s strength is his accuracy; the secondary of the Colts will need to be tight in their coverage.
C.J. Stroud's passing chart per @NextGenStats
Shallow target location a pretty accurate reflection of the offensive line's inability to protect longer developing concepts.
— John Crumpler (@JohnHCrumpler) September 11, 2023
Defensively, they will also look to bring pressure at Richardson to keep him contained. It wouldn’t shock me to see them test Anthony’s short-medium accuracy with some zone coverages. Tyson Campbell was able to bait an interception out of him last week.
Indy is hoping to add Zack Moss back into the running back stable. Starting left guard, Quenton Nelson and starting right tackle, Braden Smith have been dealing with some nagging lower body dings but expect both to play at Houston. Drew Ogletree is working through concussion protocol but got in limited practice on Thursday.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) September 14, 2023
Houston has a much longer injury report. Safeties, Jalen Pitre and Jimmie Ward could be missed heavily for that secondary. Star left tackle, Laremy Tunsil will be key in keeping CJ Stroud upright.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 14, 2023
Last season, this matchup saw a tie in Week 1 at NRG Stadium. I feel confident in saying we will not see another tie. Bold, right?
Personally, I’ve been pessimistic about this season. Wins do not matter as much as the development of Anthony Richardson, in my opinion. However, maybe it’s the Week 1 excitement talking; the Colts will get their first win on the road.
I believe Anthony Richardson will flash his superstar potential this week. Look for the defense to have a big day. Regarding the score, I will go 31-23 Colts over the Texans.
Here are some of my favorite bets for this matchup, with odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook. The odds provided are from the time of writing this and can change throughout the week.
Obviously, we will start with Colts ML at -102. The Colts +1.5 at -115 is another clear favorite. Anthony Richardson is +180 as an anytime touchdown scorer. Michael Pittman Jr. is sitting at +230 for an anytime touchdown scorer also.
For anyone looking for the big hits, Anthony Richardson is +850 for first touchdown scorer. Depending on how much you trust me and my football knowledge, my score prediction is currently at +30000 for a correct score bet.
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