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Colts vs. Texans Week 18 preview: Locking in the top of the 2023 NFL Draft

The Colts vs. Texans matchup is the NFL Draft Bowl. In play is the top overall pick, which could go to Chicago with a Texans win and a Bears loss. Also, the Colts could move up to third. Riveting.

2022 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3 Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

As of this writing, the Indianapolis Colts are favored by 2.5 points on DraftKings Sportsbook as they host the Houston Texans on Sunday in a Week 1 rematch to close out the 2022 regular season for both teams.

The Texans have been playing better football recently. Their pass defense has been stingy this season as the young pieces in the secondary have developed and learned to play together. Earlier in the season, this would be the sign that would create some optimism that the season isn’t entirely lost, and perhaps Houston could put together a win-streak.

Now, there is nothing to play for in 2022. Young players can continue developing, and depth players can try to make an impact, but the only outcome on Sunday that would impact the Texans franchise is a win. If that occurred, the franchise could lose the top overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which could mean losing a shot to pick the best quarterback prospect — whoever that might be for Houston.

Indianapolis has similar stakes. A win could push them from the fifth pick to the sixth. A loss could move them up two picks to third, with help. Matt Ryan is done. Nick Foles is injured and won’t dress. This leaves Sam Ehglinger to lead a disastrous offense against the secondary that has been stingy all season. No worries, the Texans are getting gashed on the ground. This is great, and it would be even better if Jonathan Taylor were healthy, but he, too, is out for the season.

There is every reason to believe this game will have a lot of running and disinterested offensive play-calling. The front office can dictate the orders it levies to the head coach and offensive coordinator. Some players will play to win no matter what, but if owners and general managers are directing coaches to do all they can to lose the game, it will show up on the offensive side of the ball for both teams.

So, it’s worthwhile to bet that 1) this will be a very low-scoring game, bet the under on 37.5 points scored, 2) a tie is not out of the question, and 3) taking Houston to cover the spread is probably a strong bet. If Vegas is brave enough to put rushing player props out there, taking the over for either team sounds nice.

Don’t gamble money you can’t afford to lose, and know that anything can happen.