Tonight the Colts take on the Texans in a loser goes home matchup. In what has become a rare occasion for Colts fans, Indy is getting the full primetime experience with Troy Aikman and Joe Buck on the call.
The officiating crew for tonight’s game is Bill Vinovich’s crew. Vinovich’s crew has an interesting fact that has followed them this season, according to Pro Football Reference NFL home teams win a little more than 50% of the time. It isn’t a huge statistical advantage, but they do win more than half the time. Except when Vinovich and his team are calling the game. This season his crew has seen the home team win just 40% of the games they’ve called. That might not mean a single thing. But it is interesting to note going into the most important game Lucas Oil Stadium has hosted in the better part of a decade.
The game itself will be an interesting one. The Texans defense is good but not great against the run and they struggle stopping the pass. Throughout the year the Colts offense has struggled when the run game hasn’t found early success but Gardner Minshew is playing his best ball of the season, right now.
The Texans offense seemed to peak back in November and C.J. Stroud was preemptively placed into the Hall of Fame by almost every national media member. However since losing Tank Dell to injury Stroud and the Texans offense has looked much more average than before. Earlier this week Receiver Noah Brown was ruled out for the game and they are likely to be without receiver Robert Woods. Woods is a game time decision so if he does play it is unlikely he will be anywhere close to 100%. The only other receivers the Texans have on their roster are Xavier Hutchinson and John Metchie III, who have a combined 22 receptions for 204 yards and 0 touchdowns on the season. And they called up Johnny Johnson III from the practice squad earlier today. This will be his first NFL game action after signing as a UDFA in 2022. It’s fair to question who will step up and make plays when the Texans need them most. With that said, the Colts defense hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire since the bye week either. Between blown coverage assignments and missed tackles, it has been a frustrating group to watch.
So what’s going to happen? I have no idea. The Colts offense is likely to struggle if they can’t get something going on the ground even with the Texans struggles against the pass and Minshew’s improved play as of late. As much as Colts fans don’t like to hear this C.J. Stroud is a good quarterback and is capable of putting up big numbers and scoring a lot of points. That said he might not have that much help tonight. It would surprise me if either team ran away with this one, but if one team does I sure hope it’s the Colts.
As always, go Colts.
This is your week eighteen open thread so hang out here, chat, celebrate, commiserate, and argue in the comments! Go wild (within reason)!