Familiar Foes Square Off This Sunday in Houston
INDIANAPOLIS – For the second time in three weeks, the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans will square off this Sunday in a battle between familiar foes.
Just 21 days removed from their 20-17 victory over their AFC South rivals inside Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts (10-0) and Texans (5-5) will meet this weekend inside Reliant Stadium.
On Wednesday, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said playing an opponent twice in such a short period of time provides a "pretty interesting scenario."
On one hand, Caldwell said the Colts have a real good sense of the Texans' personnel and what they like to do from a schematic standpoint.
But on the other hand, Caldwell said, "I also think that's a disadvantage since they can look at you the same way."
With the Texans having had their bye week since they last played the Colts, quarterback Peyton Manning said the team only has one additional game of the Texans to study on film.
"They'll be fresh," Manning said. "We've had two tough, emotional games. Going down there to Houston is always a tough place to play."
Having played the Texans 15 times since 2002, Caldwell said there is one thing that will separate the two teams this Sunday.
"It is really going to boil down to execution because we know each other really well," he said.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
The Colts' 17-15 victory over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday was not the only close game played over the weekend. In fact, it was one of a dozen.
Twelve NFL games were decided by eight points or less last week, tying a league record. In addition, eight were decided by three points or less (the most since Week 6 of 2006), and with two minutes to play in 11 of 16 games, the score was tied or featured a team with the ball and a chance to come back or tie the game.
Like the rest of the NFL, the Colts quickly are becoming accustomed to tight finishes this year. With point-differentials of 2, 1, 3 and 4 their last four games, the Colts are the first team in NFL history to have won four consecutive games by a combined margin of 10 points or fewer.
"I just think we don't panic," Colts left tackle Charlie Johnson said. "We go into games knowing it's going to be a 60-minute battle. We don't get down on ourselves. We know other teams are going to make plays, and we just have to keep going along and playing our game."
Johnson said it is easy to keep a cool demeanor in the fourth quarter with a presence like the Colts' veterans.
"When you have a guy like Peyton, Jeff Saturday, Ryan Diem, Reggie Wayne, guys who have played in big games for a long time, they know not to panic and know just to do what we do," he said.
Colts rookie defensive back Jerraud Powers said that while the close games have provided valuable experience, he doesn't necessarily prefer them.
"I think if you ask anybody they prefer a blowout," Powers said with a smile. "But the tight ones … it shows you what your team is all about and shows you how you handle pressure. You really learn a lot more about your team when it's a tight game and it goes to the last drive or the last field goal."
NFL NETWORK TO 'REPLAY' COLTS VICTORY
Indianapolis' victory at Baltimore last Sunday will be "encored" Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. in a fast-paced 90-minute format of the game on the NFL Network's weekly "NFL Replay" show.
"NFL Replay" shows an abridged version of the week's best games minus the halftime show and other elements not critical to the outcome. Instead, the shows all of the game's highlights from start to finish and grants fans insider access and on-field sound and post-game sound bites.
The Colts' 17-15 win over the Ravens marked their fourth consecutive comeback victory and keeps them undefeated for the season. In addition, the win extended their regular-season winning streak to 19, just two short of the all-time record.
The Colts issued the first injury report of the week on Wednesday with the following players listed as full participation in practice: RBs-Joseph Addai (knee) and Donald Brown (shoulder), DEs-Raheem Brock (neck) and Robert Mathis (neck), DBs-Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), Tim Jennings (ankle) and Jerraud Powers (knee), WR-Pierre Garcon (ankle), TEs-Tom Santi (hip) and Jacob Tamme (quadriceps), C-Jeff Saturday (calf) and OT-Tony Ugoh (knee).
Listed as limited participation were OT-Charlie Johnson (foot) and QB-Peyton Manning (glute), while the following were listed as did not participate: DBs-Antoine Bethea (foot), Aaron Francisco (ankle) and Kelvin Hayden (knee), DT-Keyunta Dawson (knee), DE-Dwight Freeney (abdomen), WRs-Anthony Gonzalez (knee) and Reggie Wayne (foot), LB-Ramon Humber (calf), TE-Gijon Robinson (concussion), QB-Jim Sorgi (right shoulder) and K-Adam Vinatieri (right knee).