Football is finally back! Week 1 is here! Indianapolis travels to Houston for their Week 1 matchup. Last season the Colts swept the Texans with a 31-3 victory in October and a 31-0 shutout in December. Anyone who follows the Colts as intently as I do know they never open the season well. Colts have lost their season opener 8 straight seasons now dating back to 2014. Week 1 is always important in the NFL. It sets the tone for the season. Even more important this week for Indianapolis, they open on the road in a division game. Most Colts fan think this will be an easy win but with our history, this is not a team you take lightly.
The Colts will start with a new leader under center in Matt Ryan. He takes over for the very underwhelming Carson Wentz. This will mark the 6th starting quarterback in as many years for Indianapolis. They return their anchor Johnathan Taylor at running back. Coming off his sophomore season, where he claimed the rushing title for the first time in his career. Michael Pittman Jr leads a very young but talented receiver group. The offensive line returns 4/5 starters from last season. If Johnathan Taylor stays healthy, this team will be a run first team. The depth at the skill positions is my only concern but they have shown a history of staying healthy. Look for “hybrid back” Nyheim Hines to have a big year this season as Frank Reich has made it known he wants him to have him more involved in the offense.
The Colts Defense
On the defensive side of the ball the new additions include Yannick Ngakoue, Stephon Gilmore, Brandon Facyson, and rookie Nick Cross. Colts have a new defensive coordinator with Gus Bradley joining the coaching staff. Bradley arrives here from Las Vegas and replaces Matt Eberflus, who is now the head coach in Chicago. Safety Khari Willis retired and DB Rock Ya-Sin was traded to Oakland. The Colts defense will be strong again this year if All Pro’s DeForest Buckner and Shaquille Leonard can stay healthy. Both dealt with nagging injuries all year last season and Leonard has practiced all week and is on pace to play in the opener on Sunday.
Also look for a new scheme this season with Gus Bradley leading the Colts defense. We will still see the base 4-3 but will also have some Cover-3/Nickel coverage. Last season the Raiders (under Bradley) had the lowest blitz rate and only produced 35 sacks. There will be less blitzing this season and more zone coverage. Look for Nickel Cornerback Kenny Moore to have another big year if that comes to fruition.
The 2022 Houston Texans
The Texans are coming off a miserable 4-13 campaign last season. They have a new head coach in Lovie Smith, replacing David Culley, who was relieved of his duties after the season. The Texans iare led by 2nd year QB Davis Mills and WR Brandin Cooks.
The new name to watch for the Houston Texans is rookie RB Dameon Pierce from the University of Florida. He had a great preseason and has solidified his starting position. Marlon Mack was released last week making him the undisputed lead back. On defense they are led by captain Jerry Hughes and rookie DB Derek Stingley Jr. This defense lacks superstars but with Lovie Smith overseeing the defense along with head coaching duties, the Texans will make improvements by seasons end.
Indianapolis (-7) 31 Houston 10
Indianapolis should win (and cover) this game very easily no matter the status of Shaquille Leonard. We should have more clarity on this by gametime if not sooner. Indianapolis is better at every single position and are the favorite to win the AFC South this season. I expect this game to be over early and the streak to end for Indianapolis.
You can find our other week 1 previews here!
Who do you think will come out on top in week 1? Will the Colts find a rejuvinated Matt Ryan or will the Texans rookie running back surprise the NFL world? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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