Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- These two teams have nothing left to play for, unless you consider Houston currently holding the first overall pick in the 2023 draft something left to play for – if the Texans find a way to win this week, they could lose that pick to the Bears with a Chicago loss.
- Sam Ehlinger will start for the Colts after the failed experiment earlier in the season.
- The Colts managed a combined 19 points across Ehlinger’s first two starts this season.
- Kylen Granson and Stephon Gilmore have both yet to practice this week for the Colts.
How houston Will Try To Win ::
First off, the Texans should want to not win (it’s difficult to say an NFL team should want to lose, but here we are). Houston currently holds the top pick in the 2023 NFL draft, a spot they would send over to Chicago should they win and the Bears lose (entirely possible here). Furthering the weird dynamics of this game is a matchup with the Ehlinger and Jeff Saturday-led Colts, who basically just have try-hard syndrome going for them, and nothing else. Houston’s pass rate over expectation values (PROE) have been all over the map this season for several reasons – from personnel issues (wide receiver injuries, running back injuries, changing quarterback dynamics, etc) to defensive issues to the opponent. As we’ve seen over the last month of play, the Texans are now experimenting with a dual-quarterback system, similar to the one employed by the Saints. Jeff Driskel has played between 21% and 29% of the offensive snaps over the previous three games after surprising everyone with a 50% snap rate in Week 14. But while that system adds a bit of dynamism to an otherwise static offense, it hasn’t been fully embraced enough to truly matter, nor do the Texans possess enough top-end talent on offense to utilize it to its full potential. Basically, it’s a cute idea that lacks an overarching purpose.
The ground game situation has been a veritable disaster since rookie running back Dameon Pierce was lost for the season, with Dare Ogunbowale, Royce Freeman, Red Burkhead, and fullback Troy Hairston now sharing the load in the backfield, with no singular option of any fantasy utility. There’s really not much else to say about this backfield other than there is no real indicator of anyone gaining traction over any other in the last week of the season. The rushing matchup yields a borderline laughable 4.00 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Colts defense holding opposing backs to just 4.13 yards per carry this season.
What’s more, the Texans have been utilizing a three to four-man rotation at tight end and four primary wide receivers, with Chris Moore and Brandin Cooks the likeliest to operate in near every-down pass-catching roles to end the season. There are no incentives in play for anyone on this team this week. Furthermore, the Colts have clamped down on opposing pass games this year, ranking above average in most metrics against the pass. Again, Cooks and Moore are the likeliest to see some semblance of bankable volume, but neither should be considered solid options here.