TV: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)
SERIES: 13th meeting. Colts lead series, 11-1. Indianapolis won both meetings in 2007, posting a 30-24 victory in Houston on Sept. 23, 2007 and registering a 38-15 decision at the RCA Dome on Dec. 23, 2007. The Colts posted nine straight wins in the series, which began on Sept. 22, 2002, before dropping a 27-24 contest at Reliant Stadium on Dec. 24, 2006. Indianapolis has won three in a row against the Texans and has a 5-1 record at Reliant Stadium.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL: Coming off their bye week, the Colts are expecting to have better timing in the passing game, which would receive a huge boost if RB Joseph Addai is able to be more effective now that the offensive line is healthier. Addai is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and 47.3 yards per game, which has prevented QB Peyton Manning from being as effective off play-action. Stronger line play and a healthy TE Dallas Clark will help as well. ... With rookie RB Steve Slaton finally posing a running threat for the Texans, QB Matt Schaub has a bit more time in the pocket and is making better decisions downfield. Slaton should be a major part of the game plan with the Colts 31st in the league allowing 199.3 rushing yards per game and playing without injured SS Bob Sanders. Houston needs a strong push from its interior line, as injuries and personnel moves have left the Colts particularly vulnerable between the tackles.
KEY INJURIES: Colts: LG Dan Federkeil (ribs) is uncertain; Sanders (ankle/knee) is out at least two more games. Texans: RB Ahman Green (ankle) should play and back up Slaton; FS Will Demps (hamstring) is expected to play.
FAST FACTS: Manning has thrown 10 TDs and no interceptions in the past four meetings. ... Due to Hurricane Ike, the Texans are playing their home opener. It's the latest an NFL team has played its first home game since Detroit on Oct. 8, 2001 due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
— OG Daniel Federkeil (ribs) is not expected to be available on Sunday. Federkeil was hurt against Jacksonville two weeks ago and has not practiced this week.
— WR Roy Hall (hamstring/knee) will not play against the Texans this week. Hall, who has been sidelined since the beginning of the season, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the past couple of weeks. There has been no word on when he will be able to return.
— DT Daniel Muir (knee) has practiced Wednesday and Thursday. Muir has not played in a game yet since joining the team at the start of the season after being waived by Green Bay.
— CB Tim Jennings did not practice Thursday as he was allowed to sit out in order to rest old injuries. Jennings is expected to be available for Sunday's game at Houston.
— DE Robert Mathis, who sat out Wednesday's workout, returned for Thursday's practice. Mathis was given Wednesday off in order to rest old injuries. He is expected to start Sunday against the Texans.
— S Bob Sanders (ankle/knee) has not played since the Colts' win at Minnesota on Sept. 14. Sanders, who suffered a high right ankle sprain against the Vikings and has subsequently undergone arthroscopic knee surgery, might be back in time for Indianapolis' Nov. 2 home game with New England.
— FS Will Demps missed another practice with a hamstring problem. The coaches are less optimistic that he will play, but will not make a decision until game time. They are hoping he is capable of playing some sort of role Sunday.
— RB Chris Taylor has a deep thigh bruise that had to be drained. And it's looking unlikely he will be available Sunday.
— LB DeMeco Ryans (ankle) did not practice Thursday. He is expected to start Sunday. He hasn't missed a start in three years.
— TE Mark Bruener (hamstring) didn't practice and won't likely play this week. It will be the third start he has missed.
— RB Ahman Green is still looking solid in practice and is expected to be the backup to Steve Slaton this week. He hasn't played since Week 1. The Texans still plan to get Slaton his 20 or so carries, and Green will then get the rest.
PREDICTION: Colts 30-23