Colts at Texans: How to watch, time, date, TV, live stream, pick as AFC South rivals battle in Week 1

Another regular season begins for the Indianapolis Colts with a different starting quarterback in Week 1. The Colts have spun a carousel of quarterbacks over the past few seasons, starting six different Week 1 starters in the last six years. This season, the Colts are giving Matt Ryan an opportunity to rekindle his career after 13 stellar seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.

Indianapolis is the favorite to win the AFC South, having missed a chance to make the playoffs in the last two games last season in hopes Ryan will bring some stability to the quarterback position. The Colts have arguably the game’s best running back in Jonathan Taylor, who ranked the NFL in rushing yards (1,811), rushing touchdowns (18), rushing yards per game (106.5), yards from scrimmage (2,171), and scrimmage touchdowns ( 20) last season – all while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Ryan and Taylor are said to be the catalysts in Indianapolis winning the division.

Houston is finally on the positive side of a rebuild after actually having first-round draft picks to improve the roster. Derek Stingley is making his debut with the franchise as he looks set to be the No. 1 cornerback the organization has been seeking for years, while Dameon Pierce emerged from the fourth round as the No. 1 running back after a stellar preseason.

The Texans step into 2022, giving Davis Mills every opportunity to prove he’s the franchise quarterback. Mills ranked third among all rookie quarterbacks in NFL history for completion rate (66.8%) and had three games with a passer rating of 125 or higher — which is the second-highest ranking under since the 1970 merger occupies the rookie quarterbacks. He also led all NFL quarterbacks in the Red Zone Passer Rating (116.8) last season, showing he’s good enough to start in the league.

The Colts have high expectations in a tough AFC this season. Can they overcome last season’s demons and make it through the postseason? Will the Texans make moves at the helm in Lovie Smith’s first season? Here’s a preview of Sunday’s AFC South showdown:

How To Watch: Colts at Texans

  • When: Sunday 11 Sept | 1 p.m. ET
  • Where: NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas
  • TV: CBS | Live broadcast: Paramount+ (try for free)
  • Consequences: CBS Sports App
  • Opportunities: stallions -7; O/U 45.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

key pairings

Davis Mills vs. Zone Coverage

Mills was surprisingly good at man coverage in his rookie season, completing 61.6% of his passes (seventh in the NFL) with seven touchdowns to just one interception. While air yards per pass attempt was just 7.73 (26th NFL ranking), Mills finished the match with a 106.4 passer rating against man coverage (9th NFL ranking).

Mills completed 69.6% of his passes against the zone (ranked 16th in the NFL) with five touchdowns for nine interceptions and just 6.47 yards per attempt (ranked 30th in the NFL). The passer rating of 79.3 was 27th in the league, showing a big difference between man and zone coverage.

Zone coverage was a little different, which is to be expected for a rookie quarterback. Gus Bradley — the Colts’ new defensive coordinator — had his defense play in zone coverage 79.9 percent of the time with the Las Vegas Raiders last season, which was a league-high. Mills has to get comfortable with a zone defense.

Colts get pressure

The Colts brought in Bradley as defensive coordinator to put more pressure on the quarterback, something they struggled with last season. Their 2021 print rate was just 29.1%, which ranked them 23rd in the NFL — despite blitzing 29.5% of the time (seventh in the NFL).

Indianapolis had just 193 pressures (20th in the NFL) and 33 sacks (25th in the NFL). The Colts added Yannick Ngakoue this offseason to amp up the pass rush and are banking on DeForest Buckner returning to his All-Pro form while relying on Kwity Paye to be a strong edge rusher on the opposite side of Ngakoue.

The Texans’ offensive line allowed 211 pressure points (19th NFL ranking) and a 34.5% pressure rating (16th NFL ranking). The allowed pressure time was 2.37 (31st in NFL). There is an opportunity for Indianapolis to demonstrate the passing frenzy against an average offensive line from last season.


Latest Odds:

Houston Texans +7

The Colts have a strong offense that will be fast with Ryan taking the lead. Ryan will not show the inconsistencies Carson Wentz has made over the past year involving the Colts’ short passing game. It wouldn’t be surprising if Jonathan Taylor or Nyheim Hines had a big game against a Texans defense that was only 29th in overall pressure last season (168).

Opposing quarterbacks completed 66.5% of passes to the Texans’ defense and averaged 7.95 yards per attempt with a 94.1 pass rating. Ryan is more than good enough to take care of Houston’s weakness, even with a revamped cornerback group from Derek Stingley and Steven Nelson.

Choose: Stallions 31, Texans 20

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