In January of 2023, the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans battled each other in Week 18 as two of the worst teams in the league. After Houston won the game, the Texans landed the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and Indy landed at No. 4. Both franchises had just finished terrible seasons and were staring down multi-year rebuilds. At least that’s what everyone thought.
A year later, the two teams were back in Lucas Oil Stadium facing off in Week 18. However, the top pick in the draft wasn’t on the line, the playoffs were . After quick turnarounds, the Colts and Texans battled for a trip to the postseason and a division title. It was Houston that won the very competitive game 23-19, moving to 10-7 and claiming the AFC South throne. Indy fell to 9-8 and turned its attention to the offseason.
As the entire NFL world locked in on both teams Saturday night, it became clear that everyone was witnessing the start of a new era. Both teams came a long way in just a year and there’s no sign of them turning back anytime soon. The game on Saturday was likely the first of many big matchups between these division rivals for years to come.
Colts and Texans have taken over the AFC South
In recent years, the Tennessee Titans had been dominating the division, winning back-to-back AFC Souh titles in 2020 and 2021. When they started regressing in 2022, the Jacksonville Jaguars emerged and everyone was ready to hand the division over to them for the foreseeable future. While Jacksonville is still a promising team with a lot of young talent, that also finished 9-8, the majority of people will probably argue that they aren’t one of the top two most promising teams in the division.
Call it being caught up in the moment or whatever, but Houston and Indy are set up to compete for the division every year for the next few years and also have the potential to be top teams in the league. They both have incredible coaches that just finished their first regular season, rookie quarterbacks that have the NFL excited, and solid rosters with talent all throughout.
Chances are that Saturday was just the first of games between the Texans and Colts that will decide the division. While both franchises entered the season being looked over, they certainly have everyone’s attention now.