LB DeMeco Ryans (59) and the Texans aim to leave Indianapolis as the victors on Sunday, for the first time in franchise history.
The Indianapolis Colts have yet to lose this season. They've also yet to lose a game to the Texans at home – ever.
The Texans are 0-7 at Indianapolis since entering the league in 2002. It's the only place in the division where they're still winless.
"We're overdue; we're long overdue," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "We were close last year… but close doesn't count. We have to find a way to go up there to their place and get a win."
The Texans almost ended their winless streak last season in a 33-27 loss that went down to the final minutes. Four of the last five meetings in the series have been decided by six points or less, including the Texans' 27-24 victory at Reliant Stadium in 2006, and the Texans enter Sunday's game at 5-3 for the first time in franchise history.
Have the Texans closed the gap?
"The only gap you close is when you beat them," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "We played them tough last year, but they made the plays in crunch time at the end of the game. If you want to win the AFC South, you've got to find a way to beat this football team. We understand that and we know the challenge and know how big it is."
The issues when facing the Colts at Indianapolis are obvious. Crowd noise is a factor. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are factors. And, of course, there's that three-time MVP-winning quarterback.
"Peyton Manning is the biggest issue you have when you play a team," cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "He affects the offense. He affects the defense. He affects the special teams.
"We've got to get to him. We've got to get pressure on him and we've got to get off the field on third down. The best way to beat this team is keep their offense off the field, and that's what we have to do."
The Texans had the ball for almost 36 minutes when they beat the Colts at Reliant Stadium in 2006. This season, the Texans' defense has been the best in the league at forcing opponents into three-and-outs.
And for the first time against the Colts, the Texans' offense will have quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson on the field together. Since Schaub joined the Texans in 2007, Johnson missed the first game against Indianapolis with an injury. Schaub missed the next three with injuries and an illness.
"This year is a new season," Johnson said. "It's a new test, and we're looking forward to it. We're going to do everything we can to try and get it done Sunday."
Schaub has been outstanding on the road this season, throwing for 1,388 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions in four games. His poise and effectiveness in hostile environments, along with the Texans' 3-1 road record this season, has instilled confidence in the Texans as they gear up for their biggest challenge of the season to date.
"We've won every game on the road except one this year and that was (decided) there at the end," right tackle Eric Winston said. "We've just got to have that same mentality, I think. Go out there, it's 70 versus 70,000, and just keep fighting the whole game."