Will Sam Ehlinger be ready to face the Houston Texans in Week 18 of the NFL season? We don’t think so. Here’s our warning to you.
Sunday, January 8, 2023 – 1:00 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium
It’s Week 18, and we’re not writing about any playoff contenders. Instead, we’re writing about a potential upset in a game between two teams with losing records.
Wherever there’s value, we’re headed.
The Indianapolis Colts continue to lose games under Jeff Saturday. They’ve tried Matt Ryan and Nick Foles at quarterback but none of it has worked. But now Foles is injured, and Sam Ehlinger will get another chance to compete and start for the Colts.
Meanwhile, the Texans lost 31-3 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Jaguars didn’t even have to play for anything in that game. That was an embarrassing loss. However, the Texans did earn a win over the Titans, 19-14, in the week prior.
With the Colts playing so poorly, why can’t the Texans earn an upset win and some momentum for the 2023 season?
Sam Ehlinger Isn’t The Answer
The Colts have been trying to develop Sam Ehlinger into a franchise quarterback, but he’s just not that. Ehlinger has thrown for 364 yards with one touchdown and one interception this season. He’s got a QBR of 34.1 and has lost every game he’s played a lot in.
The Colts lost to the Commanders, 17-16, in a game where he threw 23 times. They lost 26-3 to the Patriots when Ehlinger threw 29 pass attempts.
And then last week, the Colts lost 38-10 when Ehlinger replaced Nick Foles, who was injured.
The Colts need help. They’ve allowed at least 20 points in their last five games and just let the New York Giants drop 38 on them. The defense isn’t terrible, but they’re not nearly as motivated anymore. Meanwhile, the offense scored under 20 points in four last five games.
The offense scored 36 in a meltdown against the Vikings, which was also a loss.
Why You Should Believe in the Texans
The Texans, other than their game against Jacksonville, have been competitive. Houston beat Tennessee with a rookie quarterback and previously lost to the Chiefs in overtime. They also lost to the Cowboys by four points in the game before that.
Davis Mills isn’t the best quarterback, but he’s better than Sam Ehlinger. Mills could reach 3,000 yards passing this season and has 14 touchdowns thrown. Sure, he’s also got 13 interceptions, but he’s got Houston in a much more comfortable spot than Ehlinger’s Colts.
Houston barely ran the ball against Jacksonville. Royce Freeman will likely close out the year. The Texans can barely run the football and they’ll have to rely on Mills and his passing ability.
Some guys have stepped up in the passing game. Phillip Dorsett is one of the better targets and Brandin Cooks is still out there running routes. Chris Moore has had some solid performances too.
Therefore, we like the Texans in the final week of the season. Houston’s been competitive while Sam Ehlinger and the Colts haven’t, especially on offense when Ehlinger is the starter.
Houston and Indianapolis have both earned 16.1 points per game. The Texans have under 300 yards of offense, while the Colts have earned 332.2 yards per game on the offensive end.
Indianapolis needs help to convert in many situations. The Texans do more with what they have. Houston’s also struggled against the run, but the Colts don’t have Jonathan Taylor anymore and have rushed for under 105 yards per game this season.
Houston’s no better in the run game. They’ll probably be worse in the run game, but if we had to do a fantasy draft right now and select a quarterback between Davis Mills and Sam Ehlinger, we’d roll with Davis Mills.
The Texans are better than their two wins this year. They’ve had some heartbreaking losses that haven’t gone their way, and they’ll need to figure out ways to win closer games.
Week 18 would be the perfect time to earn some momentum against another team that has struggled to close out football games.
The Betting Pick
Therefore, we’d take the Texans on the road in this one. Houston’s the better team and getting underdog value. Jeff Saturday and the Colts are finished.
After allowing 38 points to the Giants, we’re confident the Texans can go out there and score in the 20s against the Colts.
We’re not confident Sam Ehlinger can do the same against any defense in the NFL.
Back the Texans. We’re warning you.
NFL Pick: Texans ML (+130) at SugarHouse