Sean Pendergast

NFL Week 18: Texans-Colts — Four Things To Watch For

Hopefully, this Sunday is the last we see of Rex Burkhead in a Texans uniform.
Hopefully, this Sunday is the last we see of Rex Burkhead in a Texans uniform. Photo by Jack Gorman
When the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts finished in a 20-20 tie at NRG Stadium back in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, the general impression so early in the season was that the Texans were an overachieving team that blew a big lead (Texans led 20-3 after three quarters), and the Colts were a good football team that was a little asleep at the wheel while breaking in a new QB (Matt Ryan).

As it turns out, 17 weeks later, we can just state what has now become obvious — that was just two evenly matched, bad football teams who were each trying to give a game away. It turns out the Texans are the worst team in the NFL, it turns out Matt Ryan stinks, and it turns out the Colts are using a former broadcaster (and Colts player) with no coaching experience as their head coach.

Should be a fun game this Sunday to mercifully close out this wretched season, eh? Let's take a look at a few things to watch for:

4. Get one last look at The Franchise, Rex Burkhead (sarcasm, people)
The fact of the matter is that most Texans fans are either checked out on this game, or they are hoping the Texans lose, so they can secure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft (more on this in a minute). One way to FOR SURE secure the No. 1 overall pick would be to do what the Texans did back in Week 1 against the Colts — feed 32-year-old, washed up RB Rex Burkhead! In the Week 1 matchup, Burkhead had 19 touches, including several crucial targets and carries on 3rd downs. We can all pray that this is the last game of Burkhead's Texans career.

3. Kenyon Green
The Texans' rookie class has been hit or miss so far this season. Green has been one of the misses. When he's been healthy and on the field, he has largely struggled, perhaps in part because of the injuries, but he definitely looks like he needs an offseason in an NFL weight and nutrition program. The talent is there. On Sunday, Green will get tested once again going against the Colts' interior defensive line combo of DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart.

2. Jerry Hughes
When you're a bad football team, Week 18 is about two things — locking up good draft capital (again, more on that in a minute) and individual players attaining (largely meaningless, except to them) milestones. Jerry Hughes signed with the Texans, his hometown team, this offseason to be a veteran leader along the defensive line, and his performance has exceeded expectations. Right now, he has nine sacks, so if we are charting the (possibly meaningless) individual accomplishments that we are following in this game, Hughes getting to double digit sacks for the third time in his career is a good one.

1. The battle for draft positioning
As of this week, here is the current order at the top of the draft:
1 Houston 2-13-1
2 Chicago 3-13
3 Denver 4-12 (traded to SEA)
4 Arizona 4-12
5 Indianapolis 4-11-1 
A Texans' loss sews up the first overall pick. A Texans win, coupled with a  Bears loss would mean the Texans pick second. And since these tow teams tied in Week 1, we should acknowledge that a tie locks up the No. 1 overall pick for the Texans, as well.

SPREAD: Texans +2.5
PREDICTION: Texans 23, Colts 16
SEASON RECORD: 12-3-1 SU, 6-9-1 ATS

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast