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Looking for an encore

Dom Capers remembers how the Texans started the season. He would like to see them finish in a similar fashion.

"We started this season off with an outstanding performance in Miami," Capers said Friday. "The challenge for us is to see if we can close the season out with the same type of performance here on Sunday."

A win by the Texans over Indianapolis in the season finale would be, on paper, no less shocking than Houston's season-opening win over the Dolphins. The Colts (11-4) are playing for the AFC South title, while the Texans (5-10) are on a three-game losing streak. And Indianapolis' top-ranked passing offense faces a depleted Houston defense.

Recipe for a rout? Ask the Titans what they think.

"We've got a team coming in here playing for a division championship," Capers said. "And it's easy to sit here and say that we don't have anything to play for. But I don't think that's the case and I know our players don't think that's the case.

"Every time we've played at home this year, our guys have battled and the games have come down to the last two to three plays."

The Texans placed guard Milford Brown on injured reserve Friday and signed Curry Dawson from the practice squad to the active roster. That brings Houston's league-leading injured reserve total to a mind-boggling 17 players.

The Texans' defense has been the unit most affected by injury and this week is no different. Second-year cornerback Demarcus Faggins will make his first NFL start opposite Marcus Coleman. Jason Simmons will assume the nickel role and rookie Curry Burns will be active for the first time.

"I'm just trying to make sure I know everything going into the game," Faggins said. "I know everybody over there knows it's my first start and they're going to come after me. I just have to prepare for every pass thrown in the game. That's my mindset."

Capers isn't worried about the mindset of his club. The Texans have shown time and again that they're a tough out for even the toughest opposition. That should make for an interesting contest Sunday to wrap up 2003.

"Everybody would like to end the season with a win," Capers said. "The most important thing for me is giving maximum effort. If we do, I think we'll have every opportunity to win the football game."

         **NOTES:             **Capers also indicated that Fred
             Weary will start at right guard against the Colts in place of Zach
             Wiegert, although Wiegert will suit up. Tight end Jabari
             Holloway is also likely to be inactive. The Texans practiced
         indoors Friday, while Texas Tech used the team's outdoor practice
         fields. The Red Raiders are playing Navy Tuesday in the Houston
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