The Houston Texans are playing meaningful football in November.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars roll into NRG Stadium on November 26, it will be a battle of the two top teams in the AFC South. Houston has already defeated this team once – 37-17 in Week 3 on the road – and now has a chance to take over first place with a win in a week.
"For us, credit to our guys for putting us in the position to be where we are, to be able to compete," Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said. "That's all I asked our guys from day one was to continue to improve, continue to focus on getting better. If we're playing meaningful football late in the season, that shows the growth. That shows that everybody is doing what they are supposed to do."
"It's good for us to be in this spot playing meaningful football."
With the Texans win on Sunday, they move to 6-4. The Jaguars defeated the Titans at home 34-14 to improve to 7-3 overall.
And now the battle for first place in the AFC South is set.
"Very excited just knowing this organization is turning around and getting an opportunity to fight for first place," Tank Dell said. "And knowing what kind of teammates I have, we're going to go out, first off it's going to start tomorrow, preparation throughout the week and on to the next."
Devin Singletary came from an organization in the Buffalo Bills that has played in meaningful football games, battling for first place in the division over the past few seasons.
So, the running back who has turned in back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances for the first time in his NFL career knows what's coming.
"It's going to be big, it's going to be a dog fight," Singletary said. "You know those guys are going to be coming ready to play but for us we just have to take it week by week. Have a good week of practice, keep finding ways to execute, finding ways to get a win. That's what it comes down to."
With the showdown that is coming up next week and what is on the line, Christian Harris knows there will be a lot of chatter around the game. Around the fact that the winner takes over first place in the division.
So, the former Alabama linebacker is going to reach back into the vault for a piece of advice that Nick Saban has been famous for giving to get through a week with the extra chatter.
"I remember Saban talking about rat poison, so I don't listen to too much about it," Harris said. "The crowd noise and all that. We have a job to do, we have to come here every day and prepare every single day for it.
"When we get the opportunity, maximize it. Get the job done."
The Texans will get their chance on Sunday, November 27 at noon against AFC South Division opponent Jacksonville at NRG Stadium.
"Now that we have put ourselves in a great position to go play for the division, it's really special," C.J. Stroud said. "This week is going to mean a lot. Have to go practice really hard and put another great week in practice.
"Around Thanksgiving you want to be playing your best football and I feel like we're doing that."