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3 bold predictions for Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans in Week 18

Indianapolis Colts
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts’ 2023 season is about to end. Most of the fanbase wants/hopes the team will lose to improve their draft position. Of course, even if the Colts lose they will need some help from some other teams in order to move up. But for these fans, any upward mobility in the draft is a good thing. The Colts are currently in the No. 5 draft spot.

On the other side of the spectrum is the head coach position. It’s currently being filled by interim Jeff Saturday. His interim coaching career got off to a good start with a win over Las Vegas. Unfortunately, since that win, Saturday and the Colts have lost their past seven games. That streak could extend to eight if the Houston Texans are able to finish the job this time around

And you can believe that Saturday is still very much trying to win games, much to the chagrin of the fan base. So this week will mark the final week of the 2023 edition of bold predictions for the Colts.

Doubling down on Zack Moss having his break-out game

In last week’s edition of bold predictions, it was said that Zack Moss would have a breakout game against the New York Giants. That prediction didn’t come to fruition but this week it will. Houston ranks last in rushing defense, giving up an average of 168.6 yards per game.

This week is the perfect time for Moss to rush for over 100 yards and get into the end zone. In week 1, Jonathan Taylor went for over 100 yards and a touchdown. And if Moss is really going to cement his claim to being the replacement for Taylor this would leave a good impression on the fan base and in the organization.

Sam Ehlinger gives Indianapolis Colts pause on drafting a rookie QB

Sam Ehlinger
Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sam Ehlinger has only received two starts this season, with mixed results. He also came in last week after Nick Foles left with an injury and played well. However, nothing in that game would lead to him being the starter over Foles in Week 18 had the injury not occurred.

Regardless, Ehlinger will be getting his third start of the season. As previously mentioned, Houston’s rushing defense is abysmal but its pass defense isn’t too shabby. The Texans rank 13th and are allowing 209.8 yards passing on average. They are just two spots behind Indianapolis Colts.

So this game might actually prove to be a good test for Ehlinger. He’s already faced the fifth-ranked pass defense, in Washington, and the 17th-ranked pass defense in New England. But again, he played better against Washington than he did New England. This week, Ehlinger takes full advantage of Houston’s Cover-2 defense, throwing for 200 yards and a touchdown while committing zero turnovers.

The rookie finally cracks the century mark

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Alec Pierce (14)
Credit: IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Alec Pierce has not had the rookie season many fans were expecting or hoping for. He’s caught 38 passes on 74 targets for 551 yards and two touchdowns. He currently ranks third on the team in receiving yards, just 30 yards behind Parris Campbell. A quick aside on Campbell, this will be the best season of his career.

Pierce has had three games this season where he’s cleared 80 yards receiving. And in his first NFL game, he dropped a would-be touchdown on his first NFL target. And then later was knocked out of the game with a concussion. So, you can expect that he will be highly motivated to get some revenge. He goes for at least 100 yards receiving and get’s his third touchdown too.

This game will feature both teams whose NFL draft position will be better with a loss than a win. If Houston wins and Chicago loses, Chicago would have the number 1 overall pick. However, both teams have players and coaches that are still trying to win games. So, neither team will lie down and lose.