INDIANAPOLIS—The Colts probably smiled. The Texans probably cringed.
Since the two teams began play in 2002, Houston has only one victory over its divisional rival while the Colts have 14. Seven of those victories have been by 10 points.
Their two games with Indianapolis were separated by just 21 days.
"I don't remember the last time we played a team this close back-to-back," said Colts quarterback Peyton Manning of the teams meeting again quickly.
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Yet its actually not that rare for these two teams since beginning play in seven years ago, the first year for not only the AFC South but for the Texans themselves. In 2004 the Colts played Houston at home on November 14th then back in Texas on December 12th. That gap of 28 days seemed long compared to 2005, when the Texans came to Indianapolis on October 23rd and then played host to their divisional rivals on November 13th.
This time the gap is exactly three weeks.
"It makes for a very interesting sort of scenario," said Colts head coach Jim Caldwell-but as history would show, its not unusual.
In those those two seasons where the Colts face the Texans on short notice, they were 4-0, winning all but one of the games by double digits. On November 8th of this season, the Texans had a lead in the fourth quarter, but a Joseph Addai touchdown run and a Kris Brown missed field goal gave the Colts a narrow 20-17 win.
"Not a lot is gonna change on both sides," said tight end Dallas Clark of the quick turnaround between games against the Texans. "It's just gonna come down to techniques, execution, and fundamentals and the team that can do that the longest and do that all four quarters is probably gonna be the team that wins.
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"Just a huge emphasis this week and techniques and fundamentals."
That might be more true in this season's scenario than before, since the Texans have played just once since November 8th thanks to a bye week and are playing on a short week after their loss to Tennessee on Monday night.
"There's really only one additional game to study," said Manning of Houston's schedule since the team's last played. "Obviously we can study a lot from the time we played them."
Many of the Colts players Wednesday were in the middle as to whether either side has an advantage with the quick meeting, or if playing just one game might help or hinder the Texans.
"The advantage is we're pretty familiar with this team, the disadvantage is their pretty familiar with us," said linebacker Gary Brackett.
Read: JJ's Colts-Ravens Notes
At the same time, however, both are headed in opposite directions since they crossed paths. The Colts have taken control of the AFC with two close wins over New England and Baltimore, which Houston has gone from a playoff front runner to unknown after losing to the Colts and then to Tennessee by three on Monday.
"We've had two tough emotional games and going down to Houston is always tough place to play, we've always had tough games down there," said Manning. "It's a team we are familiar with but they are familiar with us."