A Week 18 battle between the Houston Texans (2-13-1) and Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1) is an important matchup. Of course, it’s not for the reasons we usually think of, as both hold bottom-five records in the NFL. The result of the game will have a big impact on the 2023 NFL Draft. With a loss, the Texans will clinch the No. 1 pick, while the Colts could upgrade their No. 5 pick with a setback.
Of course, neither team will intentionally lose, or at least we will be told that. Houston has improved over the last month, going 3-1 against the spread (ATS). Indianapolis has lost six consecutive games while going 2-4 ATS.
Houston: Broken Offense
The Houston Texans have the NFL’s worst record and come off one of their ugliest games of the season – a 31-3 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Per usual, quarterback Davis Mills was mediocre. The offense has also missed injured rookie running back Dameon Pierce, who has been one of the Texans’ major bright spots.
None of these problems will be magically fixed against the Colts. Pierce (ankle) will be out again and wide receiver Nico Collins is done for the season with a foot injury. Indianapolis ranks 23rd in allowed rushing yards per game, but Houston has totaled fewer than 100 rushing yards in three straight games.
This offense is broken and desperately needs a franchise quarterback. For that reason, a loss benefits Houston the most. With the No. 1 selection, the Texans could have their pick in a great QB class.
Both of Houston’s wins have come on the road, where it is 4-3-1 ATS. Plus, the Texans have covered their last two away games.
Veteran QB Farm Fails in Indy
The Indianapolis Colts are pretty much in the same boat as the Texans. Acquiring veteran quarterbacks via trade has been an awful plan that has consistently failed. According to NFL odds, Indianapolis is the second favorite to be quarterback Derek Carr’s next team at +275. This would just be comical at this point.
Quarterback Nick Foles got his chance to start in the last two games. He struggled with four interceptions and a 34.3 passer rating, and the offense averaged only 6.5 points. Foles went down with a rib injury in the previous game and will be out on Sunday. Sam Ehlinger will start. He posted a 69.7 passer rating in his previous two starts. The Texans are 23rd in allowed yards per pass attempt and will be without rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (hamstring).
In the past, Indianapolis’ strength has been defense and running the ball. However, this season the Colts are 24th in rushing yards per game, and Jonathan Taylor is out for the season (ankle). On defense, Indy ranks 10th in allowed yards per carry and in surrendered passing yards per game. Key defenders like cornerback Kenny Moore II (shin) could be out on Sunday.
Texans vs Colts Game Injuries
Texans vs Colts Head-to-Head
Over the last five matchups, the Texans are 0-4-1 and 2-3 ATS against the Colts. Houston has lost three consecutive games in Indianapolis. In Week 1, the Colts were disappointed with a 20-20 tie after totaling 517 yards.
Texans vs Colts Game Information
- Game: Texans vs Colts
- Date/Time: Sunday, Jan. 8, 1 p.m. ET
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
- How to watch Texans vs Colts?: CBS
Texans vs Colts Live stream: NFL Game Pass
Texans vs Colts Game Weather Conditions
The domed Lucas Oil Stadium will shield the Texans and Colts from the elements.
Texans vs Colts Picks and Prediction
Predicted Score: Colts 16, Texans 10
- Worth Betting on the Moneyline?
This is pretty much a pick’em game with the Colts -140 on the moneyline. Indianapolis has not won a game since Week 10. However, Ehlinger at quarterback gives the Colts the best chance. He has two turnovers in three appearances, which is a big upgrade over Matt Ryan and Foles. In fact, Indianapolis ranks last in giveaways per game. With Ehlinger taking care of the ball, the Colts will win outright.
- Worth Betting ATS
Ultimately, I’m not sure how the Texans’ offense does much at all. The Colts still have a good secondary, ranking 10th in allowed passing yards per game and fourth in opponent completion percentage. Plus, Houston will be without its second-best receiver in Collins. Mills has been one of the league’s worst starting quarterbacks. Without Pierce, the Texans’ run game has been nonexistent.
Indianapolis’ defense will lead to a cover.
- Worth Betting on the Totals?
The Texans average 16.1 points and the Colts average 16. These are the second-and third-worst marks in the NFL. Of course, the projected total is low at 38. When totals have been in the 30s, Houston has gone under in two of three games. The Texans just went under on a 33½ total against the Tennessee Titans on Christmas Eve. Take the under.
Bet On Texans vs Colts
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.