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Colts vs. Texans Week 2: Josh Downs looks to haunt NRG Stadium like T.Y. Hilton, odds, keys to the game

The Indianapolis Colts have a strong track record in Houston, and no one stands out more as the poster boy for that record than T.Y. Hilton. Could Josh Downs pick up his clown mask?

Syndication: USATODAY Matt Kryger, Indy Star-USA TODAY NETWORK

The stage is set for the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare to take on the Houston Texans on the road. If the oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook are to be believed, the Colts, with odds of (+1), are currently considered 1-point underdogs for this away game.

Can Downs Step Up Like Hilton Once Did?

The Texans must have haunting memories of the former Colts wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton. Across 11 games played in Houston, Hilton, even when injured in one instance, consistently terrorized the Texans’ defense, racking up 59 receptions, 1,168 yards, and 8 touchdowns. With Hilton’s penchant for ruling from the slot, Josh Downs, who is only stepping into his second NFL game, has a skillset that mirrors Hilton’s. Given the Texans’ impressive run defense in Week 1 and the Colts’ struggle on the ground, the opportunity seems ripe for Downs to shine and possibly carry forward Hilton’s legendary status against the Texans.

The Quest for Balance

The Houston Texans and the Colts showcased their defensive prowess in Week 1, thwarting their opponents’ running game plans. As they prepare to face off, with rookie quarterbacks at the helm, forcing throws under pressure might be a winning strategy. The balance between rushing and passing will be pivotal, and the team that strikes this equilibrium could gain the upper hand.

Let Richardson Spread His Wings

In the Colts’ Week 1 face-off, the offensive play-calling remained largely conservative. While it’s understandable to ease a rookie quarterback like Richardson into intricate plays, his arm strength and finesse with deep passes shouldn’t be ignored. Shifting from short completions to riskier downfield shots could alter the game’s dynamics, especially if the scores remain tight.

The Key to Unsettling C.J. Stroud

Chris Shepherd, an analyst with Stampede Blue, provided an insightful review after watching C.J. Stroud’s game against the Ravens. In discussions with the writing team, Shepherd pointed out a simple yet effective strategy to ruffle Stroud - make him anxious about his protection before the snap. Stroud’s discomfort becomes evident, especially when his blockers are outnumbered. Shepherd’s observation emphasizes how crucial it is for the Colts’ defense to exert pressure and exploit this weakness.

What Do the Experts Predict?

  • Favoring Texans: Nate Davis (20-17), Jarrett Bell (19-16), Mike Clay, NFL Network (20-19), Pete Prisco (19-16).
  • Backing Colts: Lorenzo Reyes (19-15), Dan Graziano, Bill Bender (20-19), Cam DaSilva, Bleacher Report (24-21).
  • Tallysight Insights: 68% of analysts favor a Colts road victory; 61% think the Colts will cover the spread.

My Take on the Upcoming Clash

The Colts showcased a commendable defense against the Jaguars, and their secondary didn’t disappoint either. Given the injuries plaguing the Texans’ offensive line, the Colts seem poised to capitalize on this advantage. Taking cues from Shepherd’s notes, pressuring Stroud will be critical. I believe we’ll see Anthony Richardson land his first long completion, and Josh Downs will register his debut score. I’m placing my bets on a 27-17 victory in favor of the Colts.