Here’s how Colts beat Texans in Week 2 and what Indy must do to win again in Week 18

The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans face off in their regular-season finales on Saturday night, and both teams will be playing for a playoff spot.
Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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The game plan for CJ Stroud

In Week 2: CJ Stroud was starting his second game

Week 2 against Indianapolis was only CJ Stroud’s second game as starter for the Texans. He had a shaky start against the now Super Bowl favorite Baltimore Ravens. CJ Stroud finished 28-of-44 and 242 yards through the air. Stroud bounced back with a terrific performance against the Colts. Stroud was 30-of-47 for 384 yards and two touchdowns. This was his first real eye-opening performance of the season. Once Colts QB Anthony Richardson went out with a concussion, the Texans and Stroud really settled down and played with the Colts step for step with strong performances from Nico Collins and Tank Dell.

For Week 18: Indy has to slow down the Offensive Rookie of the Year

While Stroud played great in Week 2, the Colts were able to get to Stroud with six sacks and a lost fumble. We always hear coaches talk about the importance of pass rush and disrupting the quarterback. This week will be no different as Stroud’s best strength is his ball placement accuracy. The only way you can make that more difficult is by applying pressure to Stroud.

One glaring change will be the absence of Tank Dell this time around. Dell was the most targeted receiver in Week 2 with 10 targets. The injury report for the Texans looks dicey at this position as Dell is on IR and it appears that Robert Woods and Noah Brown will be game-time decisions. That will leave Nico Collins, Dalton Schultz and John Metchie (15 catches) as the potential main pass catchers this week.

Containing Collins will force Stroud to rely on the lesser-known receivers to step up on the road in a playoff atmosphere. The game plan that Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley puts together, and its proper execution, has the potential to make or break his future with the team going forward.