2018 Colts Season Preview: Colts/Texans, Week 4

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INDIANAPOLIS — Last season, star rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending knee injury the week leading up to the Houston Texans' first of two games against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts were able to get two of their four total wins against the Texans and quarterbacks Tom Savage and T.J. Yates. Like the Texans were missing their leader, so were the Colts with Andrew Luck.

As long as everything runs smoothly in 2018, both teams will have their franchise signal-callers back under center when the teams face off in Week 4.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Sunday, Sept, 30, at 1 p.m. ET
  • Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)
  • TV — CBS

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Colts lead, 25-7. Have won the last two, including eight of the last 11 dating back to 2012.
  • Last game — Week 17 of 2017. Colts won, 22-13.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

  • HC Frank Reich
  • OC Nick Sirianni
  • DC Matt Eberflus
  • STC Bubba Ventrone

Texans:

  • HC/OC Bill O’Brien
  • DC Romeo Crennel
  • STC Brad Seely

KEY NEW FACES

Colts:

  • OG Quenton Nelson
  • TE Eric Ebron
  • WR Ryan Grant
  • RB Nyheim Hines
  • DT/DE Denico Autry

Texans:

  • WR Keke Coutee
  • OG Zach Fulton
  • OL Martinas Rankin
  • S Tyrann Mathieu
  • CB Aaron Colvin

OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

Colts:

  • The Colts got an almost entirely new coaching staff this offseason, and general manager Chris Ballard went into his second offseason of flipping the roster.
  • With the coaching change came a switch to a 4-3, Tampa-2 style defense from the hybrid 3-4 defense.
  • From 2017 to 2018, there could be as many as a dozen or more new starters.
  • One of those new starters will be at running back. Frank Gore is now on the Miami Dolphins, so a new face will be stepping into the starting tailback spot.

Texans:

  • Now without tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, it’s up to Stephen Anderson, Jordan Akins, MyCole Pruitt and Jordan Thomas to man the position.
  • The offensive line will likely undergo some shuffling. They have some youth in Julie’n Davenport, Nick Martin and Martinas Rankin, and they’ve recently acquired Zach Fulton, Senio Kelemete and Seantrel Henderson.
  • Houston’s secondary will look a little different this time around. They acquired safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Justin Reid as well as nickel Aaron Colvin this offseason. On a somber note, starting safety Andre Hal is currently battling Hodgkin lymphoma.

EARLY STORYLINES

  • Injured Stars Returning To Reclaim The AFC South — The Colts and Texans have owned the AFC South in recent memory, but the Jacksonville Jaguars got good in a hurry and took advantage of the Colts and Texans being incredibly injured in 2017. Now, the likes of Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, Malik Hooker, J.J. Watt, Clayton Geathers, Whitney Mercilus and Ryan Kelly should all be back to help get their teams to full strength.
  • The First Chapter Of Luck Vs. Watson — Luck has proven to be one of the league’s top quarterbacks during his career, and Watson exploded onto the NFL scene last year after dominating the college ranks at Clemson. This should be a fun matchup to watch twice per season for years to come.
  • A Huge Test For The Colts’ Offensive Line — With the Colts’ reinforced offensive line, they’ll get a big test against Watt, Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. The trio are three of the best linemen/edge defenders in the league, especially against the run.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Texans CB Johnathan Joseph — The last time these two squared off, they threw hands on the field. Will they continue to irk each other?
  • Colts OG Quenton Nelson vs. Texans DE J.J. Watt — If Watt is fully healthy and recovered from the injuries he’s dealt with the last two years, he will be a handful for the Colts’ rookie. Matchups like this are one reason why they selected him.
  • Colts DE Jabaal Sheard/Tarell Basham vs. Texans OTs — If Sheard and Basham maintain their status with the first-unit defensive line, then they will have a young, sometimes shaky group of pass blockers to attack for the Texans. Some combination of Julie’n Davenport, Seantrel Henderson, Martinas Rankin or Jeff Allen should be manning the tackle spots for Houston.
  • Colts CB Quincy Wilson vs. Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins — Some consider “Nuk” to be the best receiver in the game right now, so Wilson has a tall task ahead of him. Can Wilson stay physical with Hopkins and keep the ball out of his hands?

RETURNING LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (3,098 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (358 yards)
  • Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (966 yards)
  • Touchdowns — QB Jacoby Brissett, WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Jack Doyle (4)
  • Tackles — LB Antonio Morrison (108 total)
  • Sacks — DE Jabaal Sheard (5.5)
  • Interceptions — S Malik Hooker (3)

Texans:

  • Passing — QB Deshaun Watson (1,699 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Lamar Miller (888 yards)
  • Receiving — WR DeAndre Hopkins (1,378 yards)
  • Touchdowns — WR DeAndre Hopkins (13)
  • Tackles — ILB Benardrick McKinney (95)
  • Sacks — DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney (9.5)
  • Interceptions — S Andre Hal (3)

COMPARING 2017 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 31st (284.8 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 30th (16.4 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 30th (180.8 YPG)
  • Running offense — 22nd (103.8 YPG)
  • Total defense — 30th (367.1 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 30th (25.2 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 28th (246.6 YPG)
  • Sacks — 31st (25)
  • Running defense — 26th (120.4 YPG)
  • Time of possession — 22nd (29:41)
  • Turnover margin — 13th (+5)

Texans:

  • Total offense — 20th (320.0 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 17th (21.2 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 21st (204.9 YPG)
  • Running offense — 14th (115.1 YPG)
  • Total defense — 20th (346.6 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 32nd (27.2 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 24th (237.4 YPG)
  • Sacks — 23rd (32)
  • Running defense — 13th (109.2 YPG)
  • Time of possession — 15th (30:07)
  • Turnover margin — 28th (-12)

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Other 2018 Colts Season Previews:

Texans @ Colts 2017 - HIGHLIGHTS

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