The Indianapolis Colts are 6-6 and have very little margin for error during the final stretch of the 2021 season. With Indy currently on the outside looking in, they’ll need to start stringing together wins to keep their playoff chances alive.
Sunday, the team travels to Houston to take on the 2-9 Texans, who are coming off an embarrassing 21-14 loss to the New York Jets.
Here are my three bold predictions for the Colts’ Sunday divisional matchup.
- Jonathan Taylor will rush for 150 or more yards
The last time Jonathan Taylor faced Houston, he rushed for 145 yards on 14 attempts, averaged 10.4 yards per carry to go along with two rushing touchdowns. Since then, Taylor’s gone on to have some of the best performances of his career and currently leads the league in rushing yards with 1,205, total scrimmage yards with 1,541, total yards after contact with 640, and total touchdowns with 16.
Given the amount of success Indy’s offense had on the ground when these teams last met, they’ll be looking to feature Taylor early and often Sunday. The Texans’ run defense is also ranked 31st in the league, as they’re surrendering 135.6 yards per game.
Just as he did back in Week 6, I’m predicting that Taylor, the winner of the NFL’s AFC Offensive Player of the Month for both October and November, will gash Houston’s atrocious run defense for 150 or more yards Sunday.
- Indy’s defense will force three or more turnovers
The Colts’ defense continues to force turnovers at a ridiculous rate. Indy’s defense is currently No. 1 in the league in total turnovers forced with 27. Houston, meanwhile, is 8th in giveaways with 18.
Rookie quarterback Davis Mills gifted the Colts’ defense with two interceptions when these teams last met back in Week 6. Veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor is now the starter, and while he usually protects the football fairly well, Taylor has struggled as of late, producing a TD:INT ratio of 2:4 in his last three starts.
Additionally, Taylor could also be without his best weapons in wide receivers Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Chris Conley, and running back David Johnson. None of these players participated in practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
Given Houston’s carelessness with the football and the number of injuries to key offensive players, I see no reason why the Colts’ defense can’t force multiple turnovers.
- The Colts’ pass rush will sack Tyrod Taylor three or more times
We’ve seen more consistency from the Colts’ front four as of late. Both rookie defensive end Kwity Paye and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner sacked Bucs’ quarterback Tom Brady in Week 12, and the defense has accumulated seven sacks in their last four games.
Over that four-game stretch, however, it’s been less about the number of sacks and more about the rate at which Indy’s front four is muddying the pocket of opposing quarterbacks, which has helped with the defense’s turnover success as well.
The Jets’ defense got to Tyrod Taylor five times in Week 12, and Houston has surrendered 31 sacks on the season. As mentioned earlier, injuries to key weapons on offense could turn costly for the Texans — and that also goes for the sack department, too.
To me, the Colts will take advantage of the inconsistencies along the Texans’ offensive line and, in turn, will get to Taylor at least three times Sunday.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Colts are 9.5-point favorites against the Texans this week.