Rookie QBs Stroud and Richardson face off as Texans and Colts both look for first win
INDIANAPOLIS (0-1) at HOUSTON (0-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, Fox
OPENING LINE: Colts by 1, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Indianapolis 0-1; Houston 0-1.
SERIES RECORD: Colts lead 32-10-1.
LAST MEETING: Texans beat Colts 32-31 on Jan. 8, 2023, in Indianapolis.
LAST WEEK: Colts lost to Jaguars 31-21; Texans lost to Ravens 25-9.
COLTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (29), PASS (10), SCORING (13).
COLTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (21), RUSH (22), PASS (26), SCORING (28).
TEXANS OFFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (26), PASS (15), SCORING (29).
TEXANS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (24), PASS (10), SCORING (25).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Colts minus-1; Texans plus-1.
COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Shaquille Leonard. Yes, QB Anthony Richardson’s progress should make him the guy every week. But Leonard will be a close second, especially early, after missing 14 games last season. He looked like his old self last week with seven tackles, one for loss, but is still trying to regain the form that made him one of the NFL’s most feared defenders.
TEXANS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Will Anderson. The third overall pick in the draft became the only rookie in franchise history with a sack in Week 1. He also had six quarterback pressures against Baltimore, tying Nick Bosa and Josh Allen for the most by a rookie in an opener since 2019.
KEY MATCHUP: Though they won’t be going head to head, this game will likely be determined by which rookie quarterback performs better Sunday. Both Richardson, the fourth pick in the draft, and Houston’s C.J. Stroud, selected second, did good things in their debuts but will need to play better to get their teams their first win. Stroud completed 28 of 44 passes for 242 yards and Richardson was 24 of 37 for 223 yards. But Richardson was able to get his team in the end zone, throwing a touchdown pass and running for another, while Stroud and the Texans managed just three field goals in their loss to the Ravens.
KEY INJURIES: Indy was without its top two running backs last week and could be again this week with Jonathan Taylor (ankle) still mired in a contract dispute and on the physically unable to perform list. Taylor’s backup, Zack Moss (broken right arm) returned to practice last week, but did not play last weekend and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready to go, and rookie RB Evan Hull (left knee) went on injured reserve Tuesday. TE Andrew Ogletree entered the concussion protocol during last week’s game. … Houston WR Noah Brown was placed on injured reserve this week with a groin injury. S Jalen Pitre sustained a chest injury against the Ravens but is expected to play Sunday. DT Hassan Ridgeway was also placed on injured reserve with a calf injury. WR John Metchie is expected to make his NFL debut after missing the opener with a hamstring injury. He missed his entire rookie season undergoing treatment for leukemia.
SERIES NOTES: Both teams have started new eras with first-time head coaches and rookie quarterbacks. …Indy swept the Texans in 2020 and 2021 before last year’s season-opening tie. Houston won the season finale in Indy. …The Texans won a series-best three straight in this series from 2015 to 2016. It’s the only winning streak they’ve had against Indy. …Houston and Indy met in once in the playoffs with the Colts winning 21-7 in Houston in January 2019.
STATS AND STUFF: Indianapolis has lost eight straight since winning at Las Vegas on Nov. 12. … The Colts are 1-6-1 in their past eight matchups against the AFC South. … Richardson’s passer rating (79.0) was the best of the three first-round draft picks who started last week. … WR Michael Pittman Jr. was Richardson’s favorite target in Week 1. Pittman caught eight passes for 97 yards including a 39-yard TD as he began the final year of his rookie contract. … Colts LB Zaire Franklin had a career-high 18 tackles against Jacksonville and ranks second in the NFL entering Week 2. … Indy is tied for the third-most takeaways since 2018 with 130. … Houston didn’t win a home game last season and hasn’t won one since beating the Chargers 41-29 on Dec. 26, 2021. … The Texans forced two turnovers last week with a fumble and an interception. … WR Nico Collins had six catches for a team-leading 80 yards receiving last week. He has at least 65 yards receiving in two of his past three games in the division. … TE Dalton Schultz has at least six catches and 50 yards receiving in two of his past three against the AFC South. … DE Jerry Hughes had two sacks, an interception and forced a fumble in the previous game against the Colts in Houston. … DE Jonathan Greenard had five tackles, included two for losses and a sack last week. He had his only career interception in his previous last game against the Indianapolis. … LB Denzel Perryman led the team with 11 tackles and had a tackle for a loss last week. He has at least one tackle for a loss in three straight games and had seven tackles and a forced fumble in his previous game against the Colts while with Las Vegas. … LB Christian Harris had six tackles and a sack against the Ravens. He had a sack, two tackles for losses and defended a pass in the previous game against Indy. … CB Steven Nelson had his 10th interception last week.
FANTASY TIP: Houston WR Robert Woods could be a good pickup after he was targeted 10 times and finished with six catches for 57 yards in his debut with the team last week.
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