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Colts-Texans Breakdown: Indy Favored, but Don’t Rule out Houston

Matt Ryan preseason Colts vs. Buccaneers
Aug 27, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis at Houston is an interesting game in Week 1. I think all the pundits are picking Indy to go down there and win not only that game, but win that division. But I think Houston might be a little bit better than we’re all giving them credit for.

Matt Ryan: Bringing Hope To Indy

Matt Ryan coming over from Atlanta brings stability, and a belief for that locker room, organization, and fan base. Indy’s been missing that stability at quarterback since Andrew Luck retired in 2019. We all know Matt and what he’s done in the league. His resume speaks for itself, as a former league MVP. His coming over brings optimism, and also great expectations.

Skill Position Youth Movement

Indianapolis has young wide receivers with Michael Pittman and rookie Alec Pierce. They lost Jack Doyle at tight end, but have Mo Alie-Cox, a former basketball player from VCU. Those guys have good offensive skill, and Ryan will make them better. The Colts have Jonathan Taylor at running back, a guy I picked as my Offensive MVP this year. He has a chance to have another great season.

Time for Some Angry Running

Fourth-rounder Dameon Pierce at running back for Houston, he got a lot of preseason hype. This is an angry, angry runner. He runs behind his pads, low center of gravity, and has good vision. He doesn’t care whether he makes you miss or goes right over top of you. He’ll be a great first- and second-down back for them.

Pep Hamilton Brings Some Surprises

Pep Hamilton, he was our offensive coordinator when I was in Indy, he will do a great job with Houston’s offense. There will be some things he does that [Indianapolis defensive coordinator] Gus Bradley and that Colts’ defense maybe hasn’t prepared for, maybe hasn’t seen. Hopefully, they’ve done their homework and will be prepared for some of it.

Texans’ Defense: All-Out Effort

Lovie Smith, a long-time defensive coach and now the head coach with Houston, has a system in place, mostly Tampa 2 stuff. His defense is young, athletic, and flies around. One thing you know you’re going to get from that defense is they’re going to play extremely hard and with great effort. They’ll swarm, fly around, force turnovers, and be opportunistic.

Indy’s 2021 Dominance

Last year, the Colts swept the Texans, beating them 31-3 at home and then 31-0 in Houston. You know Lovie Smith, that Texans organization, and that team, they’ve had this game circled for a long, long time.