The Texans have won only once against Indianapolis since they came into the NFL in 2002. But they've come very close several other times.
Peyton Manning and the Colts have consistently found ways to pull out victories in the series, often times when it appeared as if Houston already had the games safely salted away.
Which brings us to this week's game at Reliant Stadium. The Texans and their fans have waited all offseason for yet another chance of redemption against the defending division and AFC champions.
For the Colts, though, Sunday's meeting with Houston will be just another game against a tough divisional opponent.
"It's hard for us to factor those kinds of things in. We have goals that we want to accomplish. What Coach (Jim) Caldwell talks about is how somebody says that the Colts have a bulls-eye on them and they are the target. Well, we sort of look at other teams as if they are the target," Manning said recently.
"(The Texans) are our target. They are keeping us from accomplishing our goals. We want to go get them. That's how we've always approached that. We don't walk around saying, 'Because we've done this in the past, this is who we are.' We walk around saying, 'Hey, this is where we want to go. They're the team that is in the way. We have to go get this goal.' I think that kind of knocks that factor out of the equation."
The four-time NFL Most Valuable Player prefers to look at the whole season and what can be accomplished, rather than pointing to one particular game on the regular-season schedule.
"We have goals that we want to accomplish. But what an incredibly tough challenge. Going to Houston, on the road, on opening day, noon kickoff. It could be hot depending on what the roof situation is. (The roof) probably will be open, who knows. It's just going to be a tough environment to play in," Manning said.
That being said, he knows how good the Texans are.
"It's a heck of a challenge going to Houston. It's always been a tough place to play. We've had some extremely close games down there. We're playing a really good football team. They've got some new players since last year. It was kind of a young team a couple of years ago, but now they've played a lot together and it's really kind of turned into more of a veteran team in their front and their linebackers, and their offense is excellent," Manning said.
"They are an excellent team and always tough when you play down there in Houston. That's the challenge and we know it. Their offense really finished with a bang last year. So you're going to have to score some points on their defense, which is tough now because they don't give up many big plays. They are very sound in what they do, and they make you earn everything that you get. That will be the challenge."
SERIES HISTORY: 17th regular-season meeting. Colts lead series, 15-1. Indianapolis has won seven of eight meetings with the Texans at Reliant Stadium (the only loss, 27-24, came on Dec. 24, 2006 as former Houston PK Kris Brown nailed a 48-yard field goal as time expired). The Colts have swept every single-season series with Houston since 2002 except one (2006).
Indianapolis has posted six straight wins in the series heading into this week's game. Each of the past four meetings has been decided by eight points or less. Six of the games in the series have been won by a touchdown or less, including three of the last four meetings. Indianapolis has registered come-from-behind victories in their last three trips to Reliant Stadium.
- The Colts are opening a regular season on the road for the first time since 2006 (a 26-21 win over the New York Giants at Meadowlands Stadium).
- Indianapolis has won nine of the past 11 games on Kickoff Weekend.
- Indianapolis has registered the NFL's best regular-season record (128-48) since the start of the 1999 season.
- The Colts are the only team to earn 10 playoff appearances in the last 11 seasons, including an NFL-best eight consecutive post-season berths.
- Indianapolis has won 73 of its last 89 regular-season games.
- The Colts own a 98-29 record, counting the playoffs since the start of the 2003 season and are 84-24 since 2004.
- Indianapolis has a 38-10 record in AFC South play.
- The Colts have either owned or shared the lead in the division for 112 of 136 weeks since the inception of the AFC South.
- Indianapolis won five AFC South championships from 2003 to 2007, the best divisional-title streak in franchise history.
- The Colts were wire-to-wire divisional leaders during the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons.
- Indianapolis has annexed AFC South titles in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009. The Colts finished second in the division in 2002 and 2008.
- QB Peyton Manning has completed 386 of 540 passes (71.5 percent) for 4,421 yards with 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 16 career games with the Texans.
- Manning has a career 112.4 passer rating against Houston. He has had 12 games against the Texans with a passer rating over 100. He has a career-best of 135.5 (21-27, 3 TD, 0 Int.) in the lone loss of the series with Houston (27-24, 2006). Manning has had two career games with passer ratings of 130 or better against Houston and seven games with passer ratings of 120 or better.
- Manning has 12 games with two or more touchdown passes against the Texans. He has seven games with three or more TD passes. His career high of five TD passes against Houston came in a 49-14 win on Nov. 14, 2004.
- Manning has thrown for 94 touchdowns, 33 interceptions and has a 103.4 career passer rating against AFC South opponents.
- WR Reggie Wayne has 91 career receptions against the Texans. That's the most for Wayne against any NFL opponent. Wayne has nine career games with Houston catching five or more passes in a game. He has seven career games against the Texans with seven or more pass receptions. He had a career high of 10 receptions against Houston in a 38-15 win on Dec. 23, 2007.
- Wayne has caught two or more touchdown passes in a game just once against Houston (2, Oct. 26, 2003 in a 30-21 win).
- In his past two meetings with Houston, TE Dallas Clark has caught 23 passes for 182 yards (7.9 avg.) and a touchdown. Clark had 14 receptions (a career best against any NFL team) on Nov. 8, 2009. He had 119 receiving yards in that game.
- Clark has had five or more catches in a game against Houston in five straight games dating back to Dec. 23, 2007. He has averaged 7.8 pass receptions over his last five games against the Texans. Clark's 119 receiving yards on Nov. 8, 2009 is his fourth-best single-game receiving total.
- RB Joseph Addai is a Houston native, attending Sharpstown High School. Addai has had six rushing touchdowns in his past six career games with the Texans.
- DE Dwight Freeney is aiming for his fourth straight game with a sack against the Texans. Freeney has recorded 12.5 career sacks against Houston.
- DE Robert Mathis has 10.5 career sacks against the Texans. That's the most that Mathis has recorded against any NFL opponent.
BY THE NUMBERS: 32 — The Colts own an opening day won-loss record of 32-25 since 1953, including a record of 16-16 against AFC teams and 16-9 in games with NFC squads.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have not. It's a very unusual group in that regard. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we have a real solid core of guys that have been here a long time. They help set a pretty unique standard in that regard." — Coach Jim Caldwell on if he's seen any signs of a post-Super Bowl loss hangover from the Colts.
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