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Colts’ Matchups to Watch: Week 18 vs. Texans

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Shane Steichen vs. DeMeco Ryans

Duel of the first year head-coaches, and quite possibly a battle for COTY, and perhaps even a clash that will settle the fate of the AFC South. The stakes have never been higher for either coach this season as it is win-and-in for both of them. Their only shot is beating each other, so it is up to them to keep their team focused and well prepared, while also having to adjust to what the other brings to the table. Steichen has the chance to finish 2-0 over Ryans and 2-0 over the Titans, a nice feat for a Colts’ head coach.

Texans vs. Injury Issues

Wide receiver Noah Brown and edge rusher Jonathan Greenard has already been ruled out, while fellow edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, tackle Laremy Tunsil, and wide receiver Robert Woods are questionable. Meanwhile the Colts only injury will be starting center Ryan Kelly, and backup Wesley French has been competent when called upon to play. Those are some very significant injuries for the Texans this week and ones that could be really influential come game time.

DeForest Buckner vs. Michael Deiter

The Pro Bowl’s biggest snub this season by far, DeForest Buckner has to be feeling at least a little mad about it, as he has been one of the best defensive tackles in the entire NFL, and he is the main reason the team broke the sack record in franchise history. Texans’ center Michael Deiter has struggled a bit this season and is not the best pass-protector. Considering how Stroud does not like pressure in his face, the Colts would do well to exploit this matchup.

Samson Ebukam / Dayo Odeyingbo vs. C.J. Stroud

The Colts will also be needing pressure from the edges to disrupt C.J. Stroud and never letting him get comfortable in the Texans’ gameplan. This is going to be the toughest and most important test for the Colts’ edge rushers this season. Samson Ebukam and Dayo Odeyingbo have both been very productive, but they tend to be a bit inconsistent at times, against the Texans the Colts are going to really need them to turn up.

Jaylon Jones / Julius Brents vs. Nico Collins

We all know by now that the Colts have really struggled covering opposing #1 receivers this season, and we are fresh off a dominant outing by Davante Adams against them. Jaylon Jones and Julius Brents are good cornerbacks, but they are still rookies and defensive back is one of the positions with the steepest learning curves in the NFL. Without either Tank Dell or Noah Brown, the Colts’ attention will be placed solely on the standout third-year receiver who already has over 1.000 yards and seven receiving touchdowns.