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Colts will try to stop Texans from ending their streak

SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Indianapolis has not been swept by an AFC South opponent since 2002. Houston has already beaten the Colts once this season, and will be looking to create some breathing room in the NFL's tightest division.

October 26, 2010|Sam Farmer

There will be plenty of speculation this week about the status of Brett Favre's ankle and whether he can keep his 18-year record of consecutive starts going Sunday when Minnesota plays at New England.

But the Indianapolis Colts have an impressive streak too, one that could be snapped Monday when they play host to Houston.

The Colts have not been swept by an AFC South opponent since Tennessee beat them twice in 2002. The Texans have already beaten the Colts once this season, and will be looking to create some breathing room in the NFL's tightest division with a win at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Texans and Colts are both 4-2, a half-game behind the first-place Titans (5-2). Jacksonville is in last at 3-4, a record that would put the Jaguars in the middle of most other division races.

In the season-opening 34-24 upset of the Colts — one that came without star Texans linebacker Brian Cushing — Houston running back Arian Foster ran for a team-record 231 yards and three touchdowns to end the club's six-game losing streak to Indianapolis. He carried the ball 33 times, but averaged half as many carries (16.4) in the five games that followed.

The Colts are banged up on defense, but they do have linebacker Clint Sessions back making plays. He registered double-digit tackles the last two games. He wasn't at full speed in the opener, and the Colts sorely missed him against the run.

The Texans, meanwhile, are ranked last against the pass, allowing an average of 306.2 yards passing per game. The average passer rating against them is a robust 106.2.

Can you see Peyton Manning's eyes lighting up?

The Colts don't have their full arsenal of receivers, as Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark is done for the season with a wrist injury, and receiver Austin Collie is out indefinitely after surgery on his thumb. But it looks as if the team will have receiver Anthony Gonzalez back after he missed the last five games with a high ankle sprain he sustained in the Houston game.

Sessions told the Indianapolis Star that payback "is definitely in the back of your mind" when facing the Texans, but that the main motivation "is we've lost two division games already. We've got to get our situation better."

Some of the other Week 8 games to watch …

Green Bay at New York Jets: This is one of just three games pitting teams who both have winning records (the others are Steelers-Saints and Texans-Colts). The Jets are looking to extend their winning streak to six after an abysmal opener against Baltimore. In the last five games, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has completed 56.4% of his passes for 1,026 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. In this matchup, he'll be pursued by his old USC teammate, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, maybe the best defensive player in the game.

Minnesota at New England: Will Favre play or won't he? And does it even matter? Tom Brady has won 23 consecutive regular-season home games as a starter, the second-longest streak in NFL history. That's two off the record held by … Favre, who set that at Lambeau Field from 1995 to 1998.

Seattle at Oakland: It's hard to know what to make of either of these teams. The Raiders are coming of an offensive explosion, when they scored a club-record 59 points in a jaw-dropper at Denver. That came a week after scoring just nine in a loss at then-winless San Francisco. The division-leading Seahawks have won two in a row but are 1-2 on the road with blowout losses at Denver and St. Louis.

Denver vs. San Francisco in London: There's good news and bad news in this one. The good news — neither of these teams have to play this game in front of their home crowd, with each coming off a humiliating defeat (Denver getting throttled at home by Oakland, and the 49ers losing to previously winless Carolina).

The bad news — this is what the NFL is exporting in hopes of growing the game overseas?

sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesfarmer

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