This is the biggest game the Texans and Titans have ever played against each other.
Oh, there have been some notable ones. Like Monday Night Football in 2009 when the Texans missed a game-tying FG attempt at the buzzer. But that was still in November. And neither team had a chance to touch the Colts, who were flirting with an undefeated season.
There have been fun ones, like the Texans wild 34-31 triumph, also in '09, which saw some pushing and shoving in the bench area between the teams. Or Andre Johnson 'matching up' against Cortland Finnegan in '08. There have been joyous afternoons and painful losses, but no game had what this one has; a gigantic leg up in the division with two games to go.
This is what we always thought could happen when the Texans joined the league in 2002 and were placed in the same division as the former Oilers. This is who we thought should have been the Texans natural rival. But the series started so lopsided in favor of Tennessee, it wouldn't materialize. Houston won only two of the first 13 meetings.
The first victory was in '04 against the late Steve McNair. It was a big achievement at the time. After a sweep that season it took until '08 to beat them again. But since that win over a Titans team that would go 13-3, Houston has gone 14-7 against the boys residing in Nashville.
The history means nothing to these current players. Nor should it. The Titans are reborn under Ryan Tannehill. Since McNair, they drafted three quarterbacks in the top 10: Vince Young, Jake Locker and Marcus Mariota. None of them were the long term answer, although they did reach the playoffs with Young and Mariota.
Tannehill arrived in March and immediately took to the system. Now that he's under center, the whole operation is working much better.
The Texans may be coming off a frustrating loss, but the past doesn't matter. Sunday is the kind of game that creates seismic shifts in the standings. It will be talked about for a long time. A loss doesn't end playoff hopes for either team. The Texans will still have full control over what happens to them as far as January football. But the stakes are enormous considering what a win would do. Let's enjoy the moment.