The Arizona Cardinals come off their bye facing a very similar situation to the one they face before the midseason hiatus: a home contest against a preseason title contender who has since fallen on hard times.
In Week 8, Arizona took full advantage of the situation, putting together a complete performance in a 27-13 rout of the Atlanta Falcons.
Sunday's opponent, the Houston Texans, have made the playoffs each of the last two seasons -- a trend that doesn't look like it'll continue in 2013.
Houston's latest loss all but killed any momentum the team attempted to create heading into the second half of their campaign.
Rookie quarterback Case Keenum's three first-half touchdowns had the Texans up 21-3 on the Indianapolis Colts going into halftime, but all that became a footnote as head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed while running off the field.
While the Texans announced that Kubiak did not suffer a heart attack, his absence proved to be too much to overcome.
Andrew Luck connected with T.Y. Hilton for three second half scores, and the Colts came all the way back to win 27-24.
Kubiak's status is still unknown for Sunday's game at University of Phoenix Stadium, much like the state of his team at this point.
For a team many expected to complete for the AFC crown, the Texans have fallen awfully from the ranks awfully quickly.
Here's what's happening in Houston as the Texans get ready for a trip to the desert.
Saturday, November 9
Arian Foster out against Cards (ESPN.com)
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, interim coach Wade Phillips said Friday.
Foster suffered a back injury in the first series against the Indianapolis Colts in last Sunday night's game.
Texans' offense finally opens up under Case Keenum (Chron.com)
The second-year QB and former third-stringer tied a franchise record by completing six passes of at least 25 yards during his NFL debut Oct. 20 at Kansas City. The anomaly became a mini-trend last Sunday during a 27-24 home loss to Indianapolis, when Keenum hit veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson for first-half touchdown connections of 62, 41 and 25 yards.
Wade Phillips talks Cardinals' QB-WR combo (Chron.com)
"I have great respect for (quarterback) Carson Palmer, Phillips said. "The guy has done it for a long time and done it really well for a long time. Then, when you've got a receiver like (Larry) Fitzgerald, obviously he can make plays on par with a guy like Andre (Johnson)."
Texans' Bullock says he faces career-defining moment (Chron.com)
Five days after going 1-for-4 on field-goal attempts and missing a potential game-tying kick during a 27-24 loss to Indianapolis, the second-year kicker acknowledged his NFL status could be defined by how he responds to the worst game of his career.
Friday, November 8
Ed Reed didn't initially accept demotion well (ESPN.com)
At first Houston Texans safety Ed Reed gave the stock answer when asked about not starting Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts -- by his recollection it was the first time since 1999 that he was a healthy non-starter in a football game.
Five things to watch: Texans at Cardinals (HoustonTexans.com)
Here are five things to watch when the Texans face the Cardinals in Week 10 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Texans Release Veteran Inside Linebacker (CBS Houston)
The Houston Texans announced on Friday that they have released veteran inside linebacker Tavares Gooden and signed cornerback Josh Victorian to the active roster.
Antonio Smith on bullying, hate (ESPN.com)
On Monday, a day after Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the Dolphins, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith was asked if the allegations that Incognito bullied a teammate, threatened him and used a racial slur toward him surprised Smith.
"Definitely not," Smith replied.
Double Coverage: Cardinals vs. Texans (ESPN.com)
ESPN.com Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and Texans reporter Tania Ganguli discuss Sunday's matchup.
Pressure Points: Watt Down Season? (MMQB.com)
His stats have fallen sharply, but the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year remains as dominant as ever for the Texans
Kubiak's visit to practice gives Texans a lift (Houston Chronicle)
"It was kinda cool, like seeing a buddy," center Chris Myers said. Defensive end Antonio Smith termed the coach's presence "a breath of fresh air. Everybody was wondering how he's really doing. Is he really worse than what they said? But he was right there in front of us, doing good."
Texans show (poetic?) emotion for Gary Kubiak (Chron.com)
Kubiak hinted so Thursday while making a brief appearance at the end of practice. Jones smiled and laughed while denying he's ever put pen to paper. Several Texans said Jones has a surprisingly soft touch with charming words. But no one could produce proof of anything resembling a written tribute to a coach who returned to Reliant Stadium just four days after suffering a mid-game mini-stroke.
Thursday, November 7
Gary Kubiak visits Texans (ESPN.com)
Texans coach Gary Kubiak made an appearance near the end of practice Thursday, visiting the team as he recovers from a transient ischemic attack he suffered during Sunday night's 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
What happens to Texans' rookies? (ESPN.com)
I checked in with a few Texans players about their thoughts on the matter. I will post some thoughts from left tackle Duane Brown later. Remember, Brown defended Dolphins guard Richie Incognito after his most recent spat with Texans defensive end Antonio Smith. Incognito and Brown played alongside each other at the Pro Bowl this year.
Texans different with Dennison calling plays? (CSN Houston)
According to T.J. Yates, who has been with the Texans since 2011, head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison just seem to know what the other is thinking.
Phillips non-commital on Reed as starter (CSN Houston)
"Mostly matchups, you know, what we feel like each week, how we match up and what we need to do," Phillips said. "And Keo's done some good things. Obviously he had a big interception in the Kansas City game when we were one point behind that gave us a chance to win the ballgame. So we think Keo has done some good things."
Deji Karim likely 3rd RB if Arian Foster is out (HoustonTexans.com)
If Foster doesn't play, the duo of Ben Tate and Dennis Johnson would likely be the first two running backs to get carries. Phillips detailed who the third ball-carrier would likely be.
"He couldn't be a better guy through the whole thing," Keenum said. "I'm extremely proud to know him. He's still giving advice without me asking, just being there for me for whatever I need. I can't say enough about him. He's one of the best guys I know. I'm really fortunate to have him in our quarterback room."
Wednesday, November 6
Texans will stick with Randy Bullock (ESPN.com)
"We're going to continue to go with Randy," interim head coach Wade Philips said. "He certainly knows and we told him, and everybody else knows, he's got to get it done. That's the bottom line, is production. He started out poorly and started kicking really well. I think he got away from his technique a little bit last game and we feel like we can get him back to that."
Arian Foster misses practice (ESPN.com)
Running back Arian Foster missed practice on Wednesday as he was with doctors having a back injury diagnosed, Texans interim head coach Wade Phillips said.
"Besides having a good parking place, I get to be with the media a little more, too," Phillips said during a press conference at Reliant Stadium. "That's something I really miss, especially in Dallas."
Texans' Kubiak has contacted Phillips, Dennison (Chron.com)
There still isn't a timetable for Gary Kubiak's return to the Texans. But the team's coach has been in contact with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison since suffering a mini-stroke last Sunday against Indianapolis at Reliant Stadium.
Midseason Report: Houston Texans (ESPN.com)
The Texans haven't admitted defeat on the season yet, but time is running out to turn it around. Here's a look at how each unit has played so far.
Kubiak released from hospital (ESPN.com)
The Texans did not say when Kubiak will resume his coaching duties. Kubiak suffered the attack while leaving the field at halftime of Sunday night's loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Gary Kubiak heads home from the hospital (HoustonTexans.com)
Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak was released from Houston Methodist Hospital today. After multiple tests and diagnostics, it was concluded Kubiak experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA). He is expected to make a full recovery. It has not been determined when Kubiak will return to Reliant Stadium to resume his head coaching duties.
Andre Johnson talks TDs (HoustonTexans.com)
Quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell predicted a big game for Andre Johnson against Indianapolis. The veteran wide receiver had a brief conversation with Dorrell just hours before kickoff.
"When I as leaving the hotel on Sunday, he (Dorrell) said, Don't be surprised if you get three touchdowns," Johnson recalls.
Tuesday, November 5
Phillips took over for Kubiak when the head coach collapsed during halftime against Indianapolis last Sunday at Reliant Stadium. The Texans eventually fell 27-24 to the Colts.
Wade Phillips runs practice in Kubiak's absence (ESPN.com)
Players know about what the public knows. That Kubiak is in good spirits and that he'll spend another night in the hospital. Receiver Andre Johnson, the only player on the team who predates Kubiak, thinks Kubiak will coach on Sunday. He's basing that on what he knows about Kubiak's passion for the game.
Texans to look at three kickers (MyFoxHouston)
Former Texans kickers Neil Rackers and Shayne Graham will workout for team officials and coaches, along with Justin Medlock, who was released by the Oakland Raiders in training camp.
Bullock needs to straighten up, or he'll get the boot (Chron.com)
Bullock missed three field-goal attempts in the 27-24 loss to Indianapolis. He misfired from 49, 43 and 55 yards. He has connected on 13 of 21 but has failed on four attempts from the 50 and beyond.
Texans practice bizarre without Kubiak (CSN Houston)
In the interim on Monday, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips ran the light practice and led the team meeting. Phillips took over head coaching duties for the second half of the loss to the Colts on Sunday night. The team has not made a decision about an interim coach going forward and it's still unclear if Kubiak will be able to coach next Sunday in Arizona.
Update on head coach Gary Kubiak's condition (HoustonTexans.com)
"Our primary concern is of course with Gary's health and well-being," Texans Executive VP of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith said. "There have been so many people throughout the city and across the country that have reached out to express their love and support and we are thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers. Gary is alert, coherent and in good spirits. He is continuing to be evaluated and monitored."
Monday, October 4
Gary Kubiak in hospital after collapse (ESPN.com)
Those in touch with Gary Kubiak's family said Monday morning that the Houston Texans coach is "feeling good" after he collapsed at halftime of his team's game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.
Left tackle Duane Brown said there's a consistency with the Texans: seeing coach Gary Kubiak's truck parked early in the morning and late at night at the team's practice facility.
"He puts in work, man. He's here all the time," said Brown, following the Texans' 27-24 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night at Reliant Stadium. "I can't remember a day when I've come here and haven't seen his truck outside or seen him walking through the halls."
Could Texans choose Tate over Foster? (ESPN.com Insider)
Much of the talk regarding how the Texans backfield will look next season has revolved around the notion that Tate likely is destined to leave as an unrestricted free agent during the offseason while Arian Foster stays put, but could it be the other way around?
Could the Texans reconsider their situation and re-sign Tate and let the now oft-injured Foster go instead?
Reading The Coverage: Keenum revitalizes Johnson (ESPN.com)
Andre Johnson's connection with Case Keenum in the first half was something to behold. The difference is in the quarterback, writes Chris Baldwin of Houston Culture Map.
Tough times back for Johnson, Texans (CSNHouston.com)
The last two years - two AFC titles - were extra sweet for Andre Johnson. The longtime Texans receiver endured years of bad teams with little excitement that didn't make the postseason.
Kubiak scare no excuse for loss (CSN Houston.com)
Some Texans were still in the tunnel when they heard head coach Gary Kubiak had collapsed just after the end of the first half. Others were in the locker room. Andre Johnson was on the trainer's table getting an IV.