1. Rookie Faceoff: Anthony Richardson vs. C.J. Stroud
The most anticipated matchup this weekend is undoubtedly the two top-five draft picks battling for their first career victory. This game is the start of a new AFC South rivalry as the two teams already have a history of bad blood.
Stroud will be looking to throw his first career touchdown against a weak Colts secondary that allowed Trevor Lawrence to throw for 242 yards and two touchdowns with a 75% completion rate. Fortunately for the Colts, Houston has one of the weakest wide receiver rooms in the league.
The Texans have only one receiver with a 1,000 yard season in Robert Woods. Woods won the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams two seasons ago, but hasn't recorded 1,000 yards since 2019.
Both quarterbacks lack a proven wide receiver room, so playmaking ability comes to question. C.J. Stroud, who played at a top college program with Ohio State, had plenty of weapons during his collegiate career. Stroud threw the ball to top receivers such as projected top-five pick Marvin Harrison Jr. and current Seattle Seahawks receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Analysts league-wide have questioned Stroud's ability to create plays, and it will be interesting to see if he can prove the doubters wrong.
For the Colts, Anthony Richardson already demonstrated his value after a solid performance against Jacksonville. The rookie was deemed to be a project quarterback, but he showed how fast he has progressed with a strong showing last week. Richardson secured his first rushing and passing touchdown while giving the Jaguars a run for their money throughout the game.
After taking a series of blows, Richardson looked shaken up towards the end of the game on Sunday. Colts head coach Shane Steichen said that it was nothing to worry about, and that the rookie is "fine" heading into Week 2. A fully healthy Richardson is all we want to see, and the rookie showdown should be a fun watch for fans across the league this weekend.