T.Y. Hilton vs. His favorite opponent
Michael Pittman Jr. can’t carry the entire weight of the passing offense on his back, as has been illustrated over the past couple of weeks where he was not at his best level, and the rest of the receiving group failed to show up. T.Y. has been reliable in the few games he has been available this year, but not nearly at the same level he was able to reach in the past. Of course, expecting Hilton to play like he did in his mid-twenties now would be foolish, but I still believe he has some left in the tank. Against the Texans, especially in Houston, Hilton basically enters his prime, and a big game from him here would definitely be fun to watch.
DeForest Buckner vs. Jimmy Morrissey
DeFo will play with a hyperextended knee on Sunday (why he will, I do not understand. He should sit this one out, use the extra week to recover, and then come back at full strength for the vital final stretch of the season). Perhaps the reason he will try and play is because he will be going against one of the weakest interior offensive lines in the NFL. Morrissey is filling in for the injured Justin Britt, and he has been really terrible so far. Morrissey has allowed 8 total pressures on just 117 pass-blocking snaps, easily among the worst in the NFL. Stewart and Buckner will collapse every other pocket from the interior.
Kwity Paye vs. Tytus Howard/Charlie Heck
In order to perfectly paint the picture as to how much Paye has improved during the course of the season:
- First 6 weeks: 3 total pressures on 78 pass rushing snaps 3.84% rate, no sacks.
- Last 6 weeks: 23 total pressures on 196 pass rushing snaps 11.73% rate, 3 sacks.
After a slow start to the year, Paye has come into his own as a pass rusher and looks like the Colts’ first young productive edge rusher in what seems like forever. Paye will not have to go against Laremy Tunsil, but against Tytus Howard and Charlie Heck. The Texans’ tackles have not been bad by any means, as Heck especially has been a pleasant surprise for the Texans, but they are helped by the mobility of Tyrod Taylor and a quick passing game.
Eric Fisher vs. Jonathan Greenard
The Texans’ best player by far this season has been Jonathan Greenard, who has come out of nowhere and has been having himself a Pro Bowl caliber season. Despite missing a couple of games, Greenard has an absurd 21 pressures, on just 157 pass rushing snaps, with 8 sacks. Fisher basically cost the Colts the game against the Bucs as he allowed the strip sack that changed the course of the game, so he will be looking to bounce back from yet another poor performance and show he can at least be average.
Colts’ tight ends vs. Texans’ linebackers
Wentz loves throwing the ball to his tight ends, and the Colts have been really good at getting Doyle, Alie-Cox, and Granson involved. The Texans’ linebackers have not been solid this year against tight ends in the passing game, as that is not particularly their strength.
Also, look for Nyheim Hines to make up for his blunder against the Bucs and have a big game on Sunday.