By Dave Thomas
For a season that can’t end soon enough for the Houston Texans, the road winds through Indianapolis this Sunday and a meeting with the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts.
Losers of 11 straight, the Texans will look to pull off the upset and get a little bit of momentum heading into the final two weeks of what has turned out to be a disastrous season.
Coming into the season, many eyes on were Houston and what was projected to be a deep run into the playoffs. Instead, injuries, squabbling among players and a dismissed coach is what is left after 11 consecutive losses. Making matters worse, the Texans are part of a division this season that really has no dominant team despite Indianapolis sitting atop the standings.
Colts Won a Close First Meeting
In their first match up this season with Indianapolis (8-5) in Houston, the Texans raced out to an early lead, only to end up dropping a 27-24 decision. As most fans know, that game was also dramatic in the fact that former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak suffered what was described as a “mini-stroke” as he was going off the field at halftime. Following a 27-20 loss in Jacksonville a week ago this past Thursday, Kubiak was relieved of his duties, with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips taking over as interim head coach.
In what once seemed impossible, the Texans find themselves in dead last place in the AFC South. Three games behind Tennessee, things have gotten so bad for the Texans that they sit two games behind the lowly but improving Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9).
While Houston is just looking to end its season over the next three weeks on a positive note, the Colts have already locked up the division title and a first-round home playoff game.
Heading into this weekend’s games, the Colts trail the Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) by one game in the AFC playoff race, although it is essentially two games since the Colts fell in Cincinnati last weekend 42-28. If the season were to end today, Indianapolis would be the 4th seed out of the AFC.
Given that the Colts are still looking to position themselves in the AFC standings, there is little doubt that they have some incentive to play hard on Sunday, though they also have the luxury of knowing they have the division title in hand. If you are Indianapolis, you likely play hard and yet go out of your way to avoid injuries to key players.
Lastly, making the task of winning even more difficult for Houston is the fact that the Texans have never won in Indianapolis, losers of 11 straight there.
Going into Sunday’s contest, the Texans were looking at the following injury news as of Thursday’s practice session:
Did not participate
- TE Garrett Graham – Hamstring
- WR DeAndre Hopkins – Ankle
- FB Greg Jones – Knee
- ILB Darryl Sharpton – Wrist
- G Wade Smith – Knee
- RB Ben Tate – Ribs
- TE Jake Byrne – Illness
- CB Kareem Jackson – Ribs
- CB Johnathan Joseph – Groin
- QB Case Keenum – L. Shoulder
- FS Shiloh Keo – Illness
- CB Brice McCain – Groin
- T Derek Newton – Knee
- S D.J. Swearinger – Foot
- ILB Jeff Tarpinian – Groin
- CB Josh Victorian – Back
- QB T.J. Yates – Back
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.