The playoff-bound Houston Texans (10-4) are playing for home-field advantage when they face the Indianapolis Colts (1-13) on Thursday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Texans have the same record as both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, but are a game behind the New England Patriots.
Houston's seven game winning streak was snapped last week at home against the struggling Carolina Panthers, so the Texans are looking to rebound against the team with the worst record in the NFL.
The Texans continue to have injury problems. Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart are still sidelined, which means third-string rookie quarterback T.J. Yates will get his fourth-straight start. Yates, who is listed as probable with injuries to his right elbow, left hand and hip, has thrown three touchdown passes, three interceptions, and has a 75.5 passer rating this season.
Star wide receiver Andre Johnson will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury. Johnson has missed a total of nine games this season. Yates may also be without tight end Owen Daniels, who will be a game-time decision because of a knee injury.
Of course, the Texans still have running back Arian Foster, who in 12 games has surpassed 1,000 rushing yards. Last week, Foster rushed for 109 yards on 16 carries, which was his sixth game this season of gaining more than 100 yards in a game. The All-Pro also has 50 receptions for 601 yards on the season.
Not only has Foster had a strong season, but Ben Tate has lived up to his potential this season. Tate was drafted in the Second Round of the 2010 NFL Draft, but in his first ever preseason game he broke his ankle, which required season-ending surgery. In 2011, Tate has rushed for 846 yards and has averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Relative to their season record, the Colts are red hot at the moment. Indianapolis won their first game of the season on Sunday when they defeated playoff-hopeful Tennessee, 27-13.
It's been a painful season for the Colts without Peyton Manning, but Indianapolis may have found a rushing weapon in Donald Brown. The third-year running back is coming off the best rushing game of his career when he gained 161 yards on 16 carries.
Quarterback Dan Orlovsky will get his his third straight start of the season, after replacing ineffective Curtis Painter. Orlovsky was outstanding in his first start, completing 30-of-37 passes, for 353 yards, against the Patriots. His next two starts were far less impressive, as the struggled against the Baltimore Ravens, and failed to throw for 100 yards against the Titans.
I think [the Colts are] feeling very good after what happened last week, said Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak. ... You know, the Thursday night game gets a lot of attention. We know they'll play well. Like I said, our history in that building hasn't been very good, so we're going to have to go change that and play much better.
LINE: Houston is favored by 6.5 points.
OVER/UNDER: 40 points.
PREDICTION: Expect a lot of rushing, and not much passing. The Texans have a better running game, and the Colts' defense are weak against the run, while the Texans have a very strong rush defense. If the Colts can force turnovers, this can become a very competitive game. But that's easier said than done. The Texans are the second-best AFC team when it comes to turnover difference, while the Colts are the worst in the AFC. Don't be surprised if Foster has his best rushing game of the season.
PREDICTED SCORE: Houston over Indianapolis, 27-14.