Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans: Prediction, matchups, how to watch, and more

Here's a preview of Sunday's Week 1 Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans matchup, including predictions, key injuries, and how to watch.

The Indianapolis Colts are on their fifth quarterback in five years, but the AFC South is ripe for the picking, and Matt Ryan and Co. look like the early division favorites. In Week 1, they’ll face the Houston Texans, who are just beginning their complete teardown. Do Houston’s young pieces have enough juice to make things competitive on Sunday, or will Indy and Jonathan Taylor take control and never look back?

This game might not look competitive on paper, but divisional games are always a crapshoot, especially at the beginning of the season. Let’s dive into this Colts vs. Texans matchup, the key injuries, and predictions from our NFL staff.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans preview

The Wicked Witch of the West is gone! That’s what you’d think if you’ve listened to Colts owner Jim Irsay and the team’s players address the departure of Carson Wentz, who was traded to the Washington Commanders after collapsing down the stretch. After spending 14 years with the Atlanta Falcons, Ryan is now in blue and white, and Indy has praised his leadership and attention to detail throughout the summer.

The 37-year-old Ryan will play behind what’s probably the best offensive line of his career. Taylor is the NFL’s best running back, while Michael Pittman Jr. has a chance to ascend and become a true WR1. On defense, new coordinator Gus Bradley takes over for Matt Eberflus. He’ll keep playing his Cover 3-heavy scheme, relying on pressure from DeForest Buckner and Kwity Paye while Shaquille Leonard, Kenny Moore, and Stephon Gilmore roam the back seven.

Houston finally escaped the Deshaun Watson saga over the offseason, trading the quarterback — accused of sexual assault by more than two dozen women — to the Cleveland Browns for a package that included three first-round picks. It’s a fresh start for the Texans, who also replaced head coach David Culley (4-13 record in his one and only season as the team’s head coach) with DC Lovie Smith.

Davis Mills played well for a third-round rookie, and the Texans will give the Stanford product a chance to prove he’s their long-term quarterback. He’s part of a young Houston crop — alongside CB Derek Stingley Jr., G Kenyon Green, S Jalen Pitre, RB Dameon Pierce, and WR Nico Collins — that will help determine the future success of the franchise.

How to watch

  • Date/Time
    Sunday, Sept. 11, 1 p.m. ET
  • Channel
    CBS
  • Live Stream
    CBS All-Access, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV

Matchup and stats

The Colts and Texans have played each other 41 times since Houston re-joined the NFL in 2022, and the series record isn’t close. Indy has won 32 games against the Texans, good for an astounding 78% win rate. The Colts destroyed Houston in both of their 2021 games, outscoring their divisional foes 62-3.

Indianapolis needed a Week 18 win to get into the playoffs, but they got embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 26-13, in a loss that cost Wentz his job. The Texans, meanwhile, lost to Ryan Tannehill and the eventual No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans in Week 18 despite Mills throwing for 301 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Indianapolis Colts 2021 stats/rankings

  • Scoring: 26.5 (ninth)
  • Yards: 347.1 (16th)
  • Yards per play: 5.6 (16th)
  • Passing: 197.7 (26th)
  • Rushing: 149.4 (second)
  • Defensive scoring: 21.5 (12th)
  • Yards allowed: 343.2 (16th)
  • Yards per play allowed: 5.6 (23rd)
  • Pass defense: 234.1 (19th)
  • Rush defense: 109.1 (10th)

Houston Texans 21 stats/rankings

  • Scoring: 16.5 (30th)
  • Yards: 278.1 (32nd)
  • Yards per play: 4.7 (30th)
  • Passing: 194.4 (28th)
  • Rushing: 83.6 (32nd)
  • Defensive scoring: 26.6 (27th)
  • Yards allowed: 384.4 (31)
  • Yards per play allowed: 5.9 (31st)
  • Pass defense: 242.2 (23rd)
  • Rush defense: 142.2 (31st)

Injuries to know

Indianapolis Colts:
LB Shaquille Leonard (back, out)
OT Dennis Kelly (knee, questionable)
S Trevor Denbow (injured reserve)
P Rigoberto Sanchez (injured reserve)
S Armani Watts (injured reserve)
TE Andrew Ogletree (injured reserve)

Houston Texans:
DL Rasheem Green (thigh, doubtful)
DL Mario Addison (injured reserve)
CB Tavierre Thomas (injured reserve)
LB Christian Harris (injured reserve)
TE Teagan Quitoriano (injured reserve)
CB Kendall Sheffield (injured reserve)
DE Derek Rivers (injured reserve)
RB Darius Anderson (injured reserve)
WR John Metchie III (non-football illness)

Prediction

Betting line (courtesy of Caesars)
Colts -7; Colts -350, Texans +270; O/U 45.5

Adam Beasley’s Prediction
1-0 straight-up, 1-0 against the spread in 2022
Texans 21, Colts 20

Dalton Miller’s Prediction
1-0 straight-up, 1-0 against the spread in 2022
Colts 21, Texans 17

Dallas Robinson’s Prediction
1-0 straight-up, 0-1 against the spread in 2022
Colts 30, Texans 14

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