Forget the records. Forget the stats.
This is the Colts.
The Texans nemesis. The team I used to call Goliath. The 'white whale' to the Texans when they played in Indianapolis until Houston finally broke through last season.
Houston was tormented by Peyton Manning for years. Then, in the first year without him, an eventual 2-14 Colts squad used former Texan Dan Orlovsky to win the match up in Indy in 2011. Last year at NRG Stadium, Matt Hasselbeck was enveloped by some form of Montezuma's revenge and then torched Houston with two touchdown passes to Andre Johnson in an improbable win.
There have been 28 games against the Colts in the history of the franchise. The Texans have won five of them.
Sunday night presents another opportunity to deal with the team that's been the biggest thorn in the Texans' side. Even last season, after losing to Houston in week 15, the Colts racked up two more wins to keep the pressure on just in case the Texans would stumble down the stretch.
So much has been said and written about Andrew Luck taking too many sacks. So what! He was dropped five times last week and still threw for 322 yards in a win. And that happened on a day when his defense gave up over 500 yards.
Luck is like Glenn Close coming out of the bathtub in Fatal Attraction. He's like the villain in a horror movie. In a football context, he never dies. You will not feel safe until the final whistle.
This is a monumental game for the Texans offense. They are suffering their lowest statistical rankings in ten years. You could say it's due, in part, to facing two monster defenses in New England and Minnesota. But Bill O'Brien knows that the group is young and inexperienced and has yet to find the rhythm and consistency they covet. It's imperative to get off to a good start and get NRG rocking.
Yet as we say that, Luck will be there, trying to will his team to win. It's not only about pass rush but the secondary has to make plays. Luck is 5-1 against the Texans but has completed less than 60% of his passes in the series. He lives for the big play. The battle of third down will be a huge key.
We could sit here and say the Texans need the home crowd more than ever but it's a given. And that goes for every outing at NRG. Yes, fans might be frustrated with the offense but it will get better the longer this young group plays together.
A loss hardly knocks the Texans out of the playoff chase. Last year taught us plenty about that. There's too much season left and too many things can still happen in the division. Take a look at Indy's schedule and think of the possibilities.
But this is a team that could really use an exhilarating win and all the confidence that goes with it. Not to mention a little cushion in the AFC South.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 2/24/2021)