INDIANAPOLIS – Here comes the AFC South.
After playing just one divisional game through the first two months of the season, the Colts will have an AFC South contest every other week for the final nine contests of the year.
The journey to recapturing the AFC South will pick up on Sunday night when the Colts (5-2) travel to take on the two-time defending divisional champs Houston Texans (2-5).
In 2013, the Texans won their first two games of 2013 but are in the midst of a five-game losing streak with Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Schaub losing his starting job.
The Colts will face Case Keenum in his second NFL start as the former Houston Cougars quarterback will be starting his first game in front of the Texans faithful.
What Keenum has at the running back position remains to be seen with the Texans coming out of a bye week.
Both Arian Foster and Ben Tate are dealing with injuries and Houston signed three running backs to its active roster on Monday.
Keenum, who set numerous NCAA passing records in college, will have a pair of big-play receivers with him on Sunday night.
Andre Johnson (48 catches for 584 yards) and rookie DeAndre Hopkins (28 catches for 416 yards) are a major reason why Houston has the eighth best offense in the NFL.
An -11 turnover margin has played a hand in Houston currently dealing with a five-game losing streak. During that stretch, the Texans have scored over 16 points just once.
Defensively, Houston has remained among the league’s best defenses with defensive end J.J. Watt again wrecking offensive game plans.
Houston has the league’s top defense in fewest yards allowed and the best passing defense (145.6 yards per game) in the NFL.
Sunday night’s game for the Colts is the team’s third straight prime time game, a stretch that will be four of five contests with a trip to Tennessee on Thursday, Nov. 14th.
2013 Record: 2-5, third in the AFC South.
Head Coach: Gary Kubiak, 8th season as Texans head coach (61-56 overall regular season, 2-2 playoffs).
2013 NFL Rankings: Offense – Overall, 8th (381.1); Rushing, 10th (127.7); Passing, 13th (253.4) Defense – Overall, 1st (267.7); Rushing, 28th (122.1); Passing, 1st (145.6).
2013 Leading Passer: Case Keenum (starter Sunday night) (15-of-22 comp., 271 yards, 60.0 pct., 8 TDs, 9 INTs).
2013 Leading Rusher: Arian Foster (121 carries, 542 yards, 1 TD).
2013 Leading Receiver: Andre Johnson (48 receptions, 584 yards, 0 TDs).
2013 Leading Sacker: J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus (4.5).
2013 Turnover Breakdown: Minus 11 (30th in the NFL).
2013 NFL Draft Results: Looking for a receiver to complement Andre Johnson, the Texans chose DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson late in the first round. Hopkins has caught 28 passes for 416 yards in his rookie campaign. Houston chose defenders with three of its next four choices, including the SEC’s D.J. Swearinger at safety and defensive end Sam Montgomery from LSU. The Texans released Montgomery two weeks ago for a violation of team rules the night before their game against the Chiefs.
2012 Review: The Texans had a tremendous start to the 2012 campaign, taking an 11-1 record into Week 14. However, Houston lost three of its final four regular season games and missed out on securing a bye. For the second straight year, Houston beat Cincinnati in the opening week of the playoffs but lost 41-28 to the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. Defensive end J.J. Watt was the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year thanks to a 20.5 sack campaign.
Last time in Playoffs: 2012 season. Lost to the New England Patriots, 41-28, in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Last time in Super Bowl: Never been.
Super Bowl Championships: None.
2013 Pro Bowl Selections: OT-Duane Brown, TE-Owen Daniels, RB-Arian Foster, WR-Andre Johnson, CB-Johnathan Joseph, C-Chris Meyers, QB-Matt Schaub, OG-Wade Smith, DE-J.J. Watt