As the weather in Indy starts to cool, the Colts look to get hot. Heading back to Lucas Oil, the Colts look to flip the script on their week 3 fortunes against the defending champion Eagles. They are tasked with containing explosive young quarterback DeShaun Watson and his explosive receivers. The Texans enter the game 0-3 and are hungry to find their first victory of the 2018 season, and the Colts look to get back to .500.
Keep control of the ball
Although the Colts tout a young, promising defense headed by Linebackers Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker Jr., and safeties Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker, or as they are more affectionate known throughout Colts country, the muscle and the ballhawk respectively, they need to keep them off the field. The defense spent 40 minutes of a 60-minute game on the field and still held the Philadelphia Eagles to 20 points. The Colts need to have long and sustained drives to keep their young defense fresh and wear down an effective Texans pass rush.
Two of the NFL’s best pass rushers, Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt both stand across from Andrew Luck two Sundays a year. The Colts must take away these two monsters with chips, extra protectors or a quick passing game. They must also keep their offense in third-and-manageable situations, being in third-and-long situations, where Clowney and Watt can pin their ears back and rush the passer will not pan out for the colts.
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Pressure DeShaun Watson*
You may have noticed an asterisk. It is intentional. Although Deshaun Watson is not being protected well by the Texans offensive line, that does not mean the Colts should all-out rush DeShaun Watson. Although Watson is under a year removed from a season-ending ACL surgery, he is still a great athlete at the quarterback position and can turn defenses into mush if not contained properly. Margus Hunt, Kemoko Turay and the rest of the Colts’ pass rush must not only pressure Watson but keep him bottled up as well.
Run the Ball Effectively
Part of neutralizing the pass rush, the Colts must find a way to aide Andrew luck and his receiving core by supplementing the offense with an effective rushing attack. After totaling just 68 rushing yards (33 of which came from a single 33-yard run by Andrew Luck) Indianapolis looks to revamp their rushing game. Though they will not have Marlon Mack for the second consecutive week, although he was listed as questionable, the Colts promoted Jeremy McNichols, possibly symbolizing that Mack is not ready to go. Look for the Colts to attempt to establish the run early and often.
Water Down Deep Threats
The Texans post two of the NFL’s most explosive receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V. The Colts need to focus on early pass rush to neutralize the ability for Fuller and Hopkins to make their way downfield and use their ball skills to make plays in jump balls. Hopefully, Malik Hooker will continue his play from last week and roam the middle of the field to try to stop the Texans explosive passing game.