Jonathan Taylor dominates Texans; can that continue against improved Houston defense?

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor always has great games against the Houston Texans. Can he lead Indy to a victory in Saturday’s must-win game?
Sep 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs with
Sep 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs with / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts will host the Houston Texans for a Week 18 matchup. This regular-season finale will essentially be a playoff game, as the winner will secure a playoff spot and the loser’s season will be over. There’s also a chance that the winner could be AFC South Champions— the Jacksonville Jaguars will have to lose to the Tennessee Titans for that to happen.

Houston and Indianapolis have a lot of similarities entering this game. They both are 9-7, both have rookie head coaches, and also used top-five picks on quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, one thing the Colts have that the Texans don’t is an elite running back. More specifically, Indianapolis has Jonathan Taylor and he has proven to be a big factor in these matchups.

Jonathan Taylor always leads Colts to victories over Texans

During his four-year career, Taylor has never lost to Houston. Indianapolis has a 4-0-1 record against the Texans in games that Taylor has played in. More impressive than the record is Taylor’s stats. In those five meetings, Taylor ran the ball 106 times for 623 yards (5.88 yards a carry) and six touchdowns. That’s good for 124.6 yards a game.

This game has the potential to be different, though, because Houston is a much better defense than it has been in past years. With DeMeco Ryans as the team’s head coach, the entire team has improved but the defense is especially elite against the run.

Can Jonathan Taylor dominate elite Texans run defense?

Entering Week 18, Houston has the fourth-best rushing defense in the league. The Texans are allowing just 88.5 rushing yards a game. They haven’t allowed a team to rush for 100 yards since Week 13. After allowing over 100 rushing yards in the first four games of the season, Houston has held opponents under 100 yards in 10 of their last 12 games.

The Colts will try to change that on Sunday. Indianapolis has shown that it can win games in several different ways, but fans have gotten used to seeing JT dominate Houston. It’ll be interesting to see who wins this strength-on-strength matchup.