Indianapolis, IN- The Indianapolis Colts will travel to Reliant Stadium to take on the Houston Texans this weekend. It will be third straight primetime game for the Colts as both teams are coming off of bye weeks. Indianapolis currently sits 5-2 and atop the AFC South standings while the Texans are 2-5 and coming into this game slumping.
Houston has lost five straight games after starting 2-0 and have big issues with personnel, production and injuries. Fans are wanting coaches fired, quarterbacks benched and getting very restless.
Well, a loss to Indianapolis on Sunday night would make the Texans’ fans worst fears that they’d seen coming since the end of last season come true: It’s over.
Houston knew coming into the 2010 season that the pendulum was starting to swing their way in the division. After recent seasons of 8-8, 8-8, 9-7 and 6-10, they knew this was the year big things could start happening. In Week 1 it did. They called the home opener against the Colts the biggest game of their franchise history. The crowd was energetic and they actually thought they could take down the Colts.
They did so beating them 34-24 and dominating that game in all fashions. They would struggle down the end of the year going 6-10 for the second straight season but knew in 2011 it was their time to shine. After spending all of those years trying to build a team to beat Peyton Manning and having success doing that now, Manning was out for their opening week game with the Colts again. Houston dominated 34-7 and set their sights on something new – a division crown.
The Colts were historically bad going 2-14 and going towards a rebuild. The Texans were on the upswing with an outstanding defense and their own three-headed monster with Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. They’d go 10-6 and win their first division title.
With the Colts cutting most of their relevant players Houston knew they’d be ready for a great 2012 and future in this division for the next several years. They again won the division going 12-4. Unfortunately for them, they saw their window closing. They lost for the second consecutive year in the divisional round and the Colts were making gains quicker than anyone expected. They beat Houston the last two years in Indianapolis in rebuild mode and had a great young team with making the playoffs in 2012 as well.
Everyone still thought Houston had another year or two on top with the Colts a close second. That window actually started closing faster than first thought as the game Sunday could shut it all the way and even lock it closed.
Indianapolis backed up last year’s surprise success and took it for higher strides. They’re 5-2 and are a legit Super Bowl contender. They have all the cap room in the world restructuring this team for the future with players ready to win now. This team isn’t going anywhere for at least the next 5-10 years.
Houston, on the other hand, is 2-5, losers of the last five games and banged up. Fans want Schaub out as they’re cheering for him when he’s injured, they have no legitimate backup quarterback and their backfield is hurt as well with the top two on the depth chart really banged up.
The defense is aging and not what most thought they’d be, and they’re only thing holding them on is a glimmer of hope. A loss to the Colts would kill that glimmer as it would signify this Colts team is back to where they were before if not better and the Texans would have to start over.
That three year run would have to end. They can’t keep the same guys when they’re getting swept by the Colts every year. What’s the point going after a wildcard spot and not trying to win the division? Indianapolis rebuilt quicker than ever. It took them one year to rebuild and find a new dynasty. The game Sunday could end Houston.
Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru.