INDIANAPOLIS – Division supremacy in the AFC South has fallen to the Colts or Texans for each of the last four years.
Houston briefly took over a division (2011-2012) that had been dominated by Indianapolis for so long.
The Colts re-took control last season and now the two teams are positioned again at the top of the AFC South.
That's why Thursday night's matchup in Houston, between two 3-2 teams, is so critical.
The two teams will not meet again until Week 15 of the season at Lucas Oil Stadium so the winner on Thursday night will take early control.
After a surprising 2-14 season last year filled with one-possession losses, the Texans brought in a new coach and quarterback in 2014.
Head coach Bill O'Brien has returned to the NFL after a successful stint as an assistant with the New England Patriots.
O'Brien is working with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback, a player Colts fans know well after seeing him last year with the Titans.
The normal skill players are still in the fold with Arian Foster and Andre Johnson leading their respective position groups.
While Johnson has been held out of the end zone through the first five games of 2014, second-year wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has 24 receptions for 354 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, J.J. Watt is back to his typical dominant self with the Texans defense ranking near the top of the NFL in third-down conversions allowed (7th in the NFL) and red zone conversions (3rd in the NFL).
Houston is coming off a 20-17 overtime loss in Dallas on Sunday afternoon.
The Colts will be looking for their NFL-best 10th straight divisional win on Thursday night.
After Thursday, the Colts will play just one AFC South game (a November 23 contest against the Jaguars) until the Texans rematch in Week 15.
*2014 Record: *3-2, tied for 1st in the AFC South.
*Head Coach: *Bill O'Brien, 1st season as Texans head coach (3-2 overall in the regular season).
*2014 NFL Rankings: *Offense – Overall, 22th (338.0); Rushing, 11th (127.0); Passing, 24th (211.0) Defense – Overall, 26th (385.4); Rushing, 25th (132.2); Passing, 22nd (253.2).
2014 Leading Passer: Ryan Fitzpatrick (89-of-137 comp., 1,056 yards, 65.0 pct., 5 TDs, 6 INTs).
*2014 Leading Rusher: *Arian Foster (86 carries, 404 yards, 3 TDs).
*2014 Leading Receiver: *Andre Johnson (27 receptions, 320 yards, 0 TDs).
2014 Leading Sacker: J.J. Watt (2.0)
2014 Turnover Breakdown: Plus 4 (tied for 7th).
2014 NFL Draft Results: In a year where the top overall selection was kept pretty quiet leading up to Thursday night of draft week, the Texans chose Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick. Clowney will miss Thursday night's contest though with a meniscus injury. Two of the more intriguing picks for the Texans came in later rounds with Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage taken in the fourth round. Backup running back Alfred Blue (LSU) was chosen in the sixth round.
*2013 Review: *After back-to-back AFC South division titles, the Texans had a season no one saw coming in 2013. Houston won the first two games of the season before the wheels began to fall off. The Texans dropped their next five and at 2-5 heading into the bye week, Houston would then lose six straight one-possession games beginning with a Sunday night loss to the Colts. After eight seasons as the Texans head coach, Gary Kubiak was fired with three games left in the regular season.
Last time in Playoffs: 2012 season. Lost in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs, 41-28, to the New England Patriots.
*Last time in Super Bowl: *Never.
*Super Bowl Championships: *Never.
2014 Pro Bowl Selections: OT-Duane Brown, WR-Andre Johnson and DE-J.J. Watt.