Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans kicks off this Sunday at 1:00pm EST at NRG Stadium as a home game for the Texans. The Colts are currently a +1.5 underdog and +102 on the moneyline while the total is set at 39.5. Expect an exciting quarterback duel between CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson while Dameon Pierce looks to run wild as Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans valuable player props.
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While Anthony Richardson looked like the best rookie quarterback in week one, CJ Stroud clocked in at a close second. Richardson flexed his running ability out of the gate, constantly keeping the defense reeling with his scrambling ability. As for Stroud, he was far more conservative and played a clean game while minimizing risk. Both suffered a loss, now both getting an opportunity to get into the win column.
Anthony Richardson Anytime Touchdown
While most experts are still skeptical of Richardson’s throwing ability, he at least proved to be an effective runner right out of the gate. He led the team in rushing with 40 total yards on 10 attempts and even scored a touchdown.
The interesting takeaway with that stat line is the attempts, giving his anytime touchdown immediate value as the volume is there when they are near the end zone. It’s apparent he serves as their best rusher with their underwhelming cast of running backs giving minimal support.
The Texans defensive line may not be world beaters, but they are effective at generating a pass rush. With a collapsing pocket comes more Richardson scrambles and more opportunities to find the end zone as he escapes danger. Couple the pass set runs with designed runs and Richardson will be a popular ATD target for weeks to come.
CJ Stroud Over 216.5 Passing Yards
Going against the Ravens defense is no easy task for your first regular season game of the year but CJ Stroud managed expectations and played fairly well. He finished the contest throwing 28-44 for 242 yards and zero touchdowns and interceptions.
While the zero turnovers are nice as Stroud came into the process with question marks surrounding his decision making, it’s now time to really activate his elite arm and start stretching the downfield pass attack.
He will be in a position to do so as he faces a much weaker defense in the Indianapolis Colts. Their secondary is weak, and the pass rush is generated by mainly Kwity Paye and DeForest Buckner.
Factor in Tank Dell getting more reps as Noah Brown hits the IR and Stroud will find himself with an athletic speedster wreaking havoc across the middle of the Colts defense.
CJ Stroud Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
With a heavier dose of the pass expected as the Texans open up the playbook against the weak Colts defense, comes more opportunities to cash this over. The volume was certainly there as he finished with 44 attempts in his first contest, now getting a more open field to dissect.
CJ Stroud Week 1 highlights 👀 pic.twitter.com/Uh127yihou
— Buckeyes Network (@BuckeyesNetwork) September 10, 2023
Especially if the ground game struggles to get going as the Colts linebackers serve as a good run stopping unit. Should Pierce struggle to get it going on the ground against a stacked box, it will be on Stroud to find success past the hashes. An uptick in play action may be in store, as well as dump offs to Pierce in an effort to keep the defense guessing.
Dameon Pierce Under 55.5 Rush Yards
While I am certainly high on Stroud’s chances of airing it out more in this game against the Colts weak secondary, Dameon Pierce’s rushing yards take a hit as collateral damage.
To no fault of his own as his lack of attempts correlates to the under. Multiple factors play in as well, starting with that this is expected to go down to the wire. Avoiding a blow out on the Texans side, forcing them to maintain the pass instead of calling a heavier dose of the run.
The Colts linebacking unit also serve as good run stoppers as previously mentioned, meaning the Texans will need to look on the outside in order to stretch out the defense. Expect Pierce to be more of a factor in the air attack than the ground game as Stroud starts to flash his elite arm.
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