Week 2 of the NFL season is here. The Indianapolis Colts unfortunately lost but there are things to be excited about heading into their matchup against the Houston Texans this Sunday. Even though the Colts are 0-1 the start of this year feels drastically different than the start of the 2022 season.
Speaking of last season, the odds of the Indianapolis and Houston tying again are extremely remote. Yes, both teams are rebuilding around their franchise quarterbacks — Anthony Richardson and CJ Stroud, respectively. And yes, both teams have rookie head coaches. But there is no chance that both of these teams tie each other in their first matchup for a second consecutive year.
Indianapolis played division rival Jacksonville tough for three-quarters last week but the Colts’ offense couldn’t give the defense enough time to rest which led to giving up two late touchdowns. This week you can expect some better offensive game planning.
Here are four bold predictions for the Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans Week 2 matchup.
Zack Moss picks up where he left off in 2022 and rushes for over 100 yards and a score
Last season, Zack Moss ran 18 times for 114 yards, caught all three of his passes for an additional seven yards, and scored two total touchdowns (one on the ground and one through the air). In that game, he ripped off a 34-yard run and his score on the ground was a 15-yarder where he broke multiple tackles. He very much threw a big bucket of cold water on the idea that the Colts needed to extend Jonathan Taylor.
Now, despite Moss’ success the team still lost the game but it did cost Houston the chance to have the first overall pick in the draft. Last week, Houston allowed 110 yards rushing and three touchdowns to Baltimore. Granted, it was on 32 carries for an average of 3.4 yards per attempt. Regardless, Moss will be fired up to once again show why he can and should be the lead back of the horseshoe.
Considering, Taylor will be off the PUP list for the Week 5 matchup, Moss will have that time to show what he’s capable of. While in Buffalo he wasn’t used in a way that compliments his style. Since coming to Indianapolis, he’s been given that opportunity. Sunday he will stake his claim to being the workhorse and number one running back by running for over 100 yards, breaking three 10+ yard runs, and finding the endzone at least one time.
Houston Texan’s pass rush will have another week with 4 sacks
Last week Jacksonville sacked Anthony Richardson four times, pressured him 11 times, knocked him down twice, hurried him five times, and blitzed him 17 times. In Houston’s first game, they blitzed Lamar Jackson nine times, hurried him once, knocked him down four times, pressured him nine times, and also sacked him four times. While Jacksonville ranks fifth (36.2%) in blitz percentage, Houston ranks 15th (29%).
However, Houston ranks 10th (29%) in pressure percentage and Jacksonville ranked 18th (23.4%). What this translates to is that Houston is better able to put pressure, and get home, on the opposing quarterback without the need to bring an extra player. This is key considering this will be the second straight week they’re going against an elite mobile quarterback.
It’s no secret that last year the Colts’ offensive line was abysmal. And their start this year wasn’t very inspiring either. Houston will have another successful week getting after the quarterback as they double their sack total.
Anthony Richardson finds the endzone 3 times while totaling over 300 yards
It’s no secret that arguably the two most desired quarterbacks in this year’s rookie class for Colts fans were, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson. They also might have been the most divisive ones amongst the fans as well. In the end, the horseshoe got their guy, the guy they wanted all along.
And so far Richardson has silenced all of the haters. He had a great camp, and his preseason play was good. Even his first NFL game was mostly a success, as he had the best debut amongst the other rookie QBs. This can be directly attributed to the game plan the coaching staff has for his development. Both Indianapolis and Houston are hoping and believing that they have their franchise guy. And their fanbase is licking their chops to unequivocally lay claim to their QB being the best in the class.
The NFL loves to have quarterback rivalries, from Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady to Patrick Mahomes vs. Joe Burrow. The newest wave to hit will be Richardson vs. Stroud. Richardson will undoubtedly showcase his athleticism this week, in turn driving Demeco Ryans and his defense crazy. Richardson will combine for a total of over 300 yards on offense while scoring three more touchdowns and one more interception.
CJ Stroud passes for over 250 yards and two TDs versus Indianapolis Colts
Considering practically all of the AFC South got franchise rookie quarterbacks, except for Jacksonville who already has theirs. There is no question that Richardson, Stroud, and Will Levis will always be compared to each other as their respective careers unfold. Houston, Tennessee, and Indianapolis all needed a franchise guy and they all believed they could check off that box.
However, history tells us that is not likely to be the case. The 2012 draft class saw Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson in a similar situation. Only Luck and Wilson ended up being the guys as Griffin was ultimately replaced by Kirk Cousins. But we digress from the upcoming matchup.
Between Richardson and Stroud, Richardson is the more physically gifted player while Stroud is the more accurate passer, allegedly. Neither team has an unquestioned number-one wide receiver, even though Michael Pittman Jr. is a lot closer to that distinction than anyone on Houston’s roster. These two are going to put on a show in their first matchup.
Stroud will dissect the Colts’ secondary with such precision that the iteration and variation of “he’s carving them up like a surgeon” will be worn out halfway through the second quarter. He will surpass 250 yards passing, throw two touchdowns, and complete over 70% of his passes while also losing a fumble. These two players will garner the lion’s share of the post-game headlines nationally.