Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Houston Texans

Denver Broncos
Houston Texans
(credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
(credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
(credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
(credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Winner The Broncos are coming off a rare poor game against the Chargers in Week 15, but the football Gods smiled on them because the Patriots also lost and it did not cost Denver the inside track on the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Peyton Manning has thrown 47 TD passes this season and it seems quite likely he will throw at least three TD passes this week and hit the 50 mark for the season.
It’s hard to imagine a worse season than the Texans have endured this season. They were viewed as a clear-cut playoff team at the start of the season and after winning their first two games, they have lost 12 straight. It doesn’t figure to end here with Case Keenum lining up under center. While he has mobility and decent passing skills, Keenum makes big mistakes at key moments and is quite unreliable.
Winner While the Broncos can light up the scoreboard against any opponent, they are not as strong when wide receiver Wes Welker (concussion) cannot play. Welker gets open with ease and will not drop the ball, and he makes a huge contribution. Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are both excellent receivers who can make big plays. Knowshon Moreno (939 yards) has been a tough and consistent running back.
While the Texans have endured a brutal season, it’s hard not to be impressed with running back Ben Tate. Despite suffering broken ribs earlier in the year, Tate has lined up every week and run with power. Andre Johnson is still one of the best receivers in football and his size and strength give him an edge on most defensive backs. DeAndre Hopkins is an emerging talent who can make tough catches.
The Broncos play with effort and are a hard-hitting team on defense, but they are quite vulnerable as they rank 23rd overall and 28th against the pass. Linebacker Danny Trevathan has had an excellent season and he leads the team with 114 tackles and he also has 12 passes defensed. Strong safety Duke Ihenacho is a huge hitter who has forced three fumbles and has two fumble recoveries.
Winner Those who tend to dismiss yardage allowed as a viable stat gain a lot of credibility for their position when the Texans are placed under the microscope. While they have lost 12 games in a row, they rank fourth in overall defense. Defensive end J.J. Watt has 69 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Linebacker Daryl Sharpton leads the team with 73 tackles.
Special Teams
Winner The Broncos will win the battle on special teams against most opponents and they should have a big edge over the Texans. Trindon Holliday is one of the best return men in the league. Matt Prater has had a remarkable year, making 20-of-21 FG attempts.
The Texans' inability to compete on even terms with their special teams have been an issue for several seasons. They struggle in punt and kickoff coverage and rarely get an explosive return from Keshawn Martin. Randy Bullock is a below average NFL kicker.

The Winner Is

(credit: Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Winner Denver Broncos
3 out of 4

Peyton Manning had to be thrilled that the Broncos still held the pole position in the AFC after the Week 15 results. Look for the Broncos to get back on track with an easy win here.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals

    The Seahawks face their NFC West foe on the road as the Cardinals look to get above .500 for the first time this season.

  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Pittsburgh Steelers

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