By Dave Thomas
If you had told someone at the start of the year that the Houston Texans would be suffering from an 11-game losing streak beginning after Week 2 of the season, they probably would have laughed in your face.
That streak was the main reason the club parted ways with head coach Gary Kubiak last week, although a change at the top is not likely to turn around this team’s misfortunes anytime soon.
Following its 24-20 loss in Jacksonville last Thursday evening, Houston (2-11) dismissed Kubiak from his head coaching duties, naming defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as the interim head coach for the final three games of the season.
The first of those three games kicks off this coming Sunday, when the Texans tangle with division rival Indianapolis on the road. The Colts, who have locked up the AFC South, have not exactly been setting the world on fire in recent weeks (lost three of their last five games).
Indianapolis dropped a 42-28 decision in Cincinnati this past Sunday against the AFC North leading Bengals. Despite the loss, the Colts clinched their division due to Tennessee’s loss in Denver.
Colts Rallied in Houston First Time Around
As many Texan fans well know, it was the first meeting earlier this season at Reliant Stadium against the Colts where Kubiak suffered what was at the time described as a mini-stroke. Houston jumped out to a big first half lead, only to see Indianapolis rally and leave the Lone Star State with a 27-24 win. The loss has been one of a number of embarrassments for the Texans on the season, a season that follows last year’s AFC South championship and a playoff victory at home over Cincinnati.
While the 2013 season has been a disaster except for early-season wins at San Diego and at home against Tennessee, the Texans would like nothing more than to finish strong and go into the off-season with something positive for Phillips or which ever individual will lead Houston in 2014.
Getting a win this Sunday on the road will not be easy against a team that does not want to essentially back into the playoffs over the final weeks of the regular season.
Indianapolis no doubt will be looking to improve its defensive effort against the Texans, something that was lacking in giving up 42 points in Cincinnati.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Colts look to Robert Mathis (15.5 sacks) and Jerrell Freeman (106 total tackles) to anchor things.
Meantime, most NFL fans know that for the Colts to have any success in the post-season this year, quarterback Andrew Luck will have to play sound football and avoid the turnover bug.
To date, Luck has thrown for 3,119 yards and 19 TD’s. Without Reggie Wayne lost for the season a few weeks back due to an ACL injury, the Houston-born Luck looks to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (798 yards, five touchdowns) to get open.
If Luck goes to the ground game, look for Andrew Brown (389 yards rushing) to get the bulk of carries, though the quarterback is no stranger to running the ball himself, having accounted for 336 yards rushing this season.
In the all-time series, the Colts hold a decisive 19-4 advantage.
For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.