A lot has changed since the last time the Texans faced Indianapolis.
Houston entered that contest with a 3-2 record, while the Colts were 2-3.
Adam Vinatieri drilled a 36-yard field goal with 7:04 remaining in regulation, and the Texans were down by 14. But Brock Osweiler and company erupted for a pair of touchdowns to tie it up at 23, and the Texans prevailed in overtime, 26-23.
Since then, Houston's gone 2-4, and lost the last three games. The Colts are 4-2 since that Week 6 Sunday night loss, and they carpet-bombed the Jets 41-10 two nights ago.
Osweiler and company aren't downplaying the importance of the matchup between the two 6-6 ballclubs.
"It certainly feels like a playoff game," Osweiler said Wednesday. "I know personally our football team knows how important this game is. We know that it's a must-win game if we want to accomplish the goals that we set out for early in the year."
O'Brien said the Texans had "a really good practice" on Wednesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center, and that his squad is focused on what it must do.
"They know how important the game is," O'Brien said. "They know that they're undefeated in the division and if it stays that way, then obviously they'll win the division. We're looking forward to the challenge."
Houston's also toppled the Jaguars on the road and the Titans at NRG Stadium, so they're spotless in the AFC South. Remaining so after this weekend would strengthen their playoff chances.
Despite the Texans' recent struggles, though, the Colts recognize the capabilities of a team that's already beaten them once this season.
"They played better than we did down the stretch and they got the win," Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said. "You try to look at it. You learn from it and try to grow. They're a different team right now and we're a different team right now. It's going to be a huge challenge."
Kickoff is set for noon CT at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Texans beat the Colts there in Week 15 of last year.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 2/24/2021)