Week 16: Broncos — Texans

September 23, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing (56) lines up during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos look to shake off the home loss to the San Diego Chargers last Thursday as they still have good position to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Denver was held to a season low 20 points against the Chargers while only mustering 295 yards; also a season-low. The Broncos look to get back in the win column as they face a Houston Texans team that has been a surprise in the NFL world, but not in a good way. The Texans are coming off of a season where they won 12 games to a season where they have 12 losses, what a difference a year makes.

What: Denver Broncos (11-3) at Houston Texans (2-12)

When: Sunday, December 22nd

Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas

Time: 1:00 PM ET, 11:00 PM MT.

TV: CBS

The Denver Broncos would receive an early Christmas last week as the Miami Dolphins would take down the New England Patriots. A Patriots win would have meant current possession over the one-seed, as Denver would have slipped to the two-seed. Fortunately for Denver, they are still in the driver’s seat with an easier remaining schedule to remain atop the conference unlike the New England Patriots. Denver will finish off the season on the road against Houston and Oakland, while New England will finish off the season at Baltimore and at home against Buffalo.

Match-Up:

Denver will have another tough-task in the passing game as their number one ranked offense through the air that averages 336.6 yards passing per game, will take on the Houston defense that is second in the league in pass yards allowed per game at just 183.3 yards. Houston has two solid cornerbacks in Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson that match-up perfectly with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Expect Andre Caldwell and Julius Thomas to be targeted quite a bit come Sunday afternoon.

Notes:

Broncos wide-receiver Wes Welker will be held out for the remainder of the regular season due to the concussions he suffered in week 11 and 14. Reports per ESPN.

Welker has not been medically cleared to practice, but on Thursday he spent some time working with the strength and conditioning staff in the team’s weight room. Coach John Fox said Welker also did limited on-field work outside.

Meanwhile, the Broncos will be getting a key piece back on defense in Champ Bailey. Bailey, 35 has been dealing with a nagging foot injury that he suffered in the preseason against the Seattle Seahawks. Here is what Champ said about his game:

“I do feel like I do still have my speed and my quickness — I have to in order to be able to play out there,” Bailey said Thursday. “I feel good about what I can do. I think now it’s just being smart about how I go about doing it, and making sure I don’t have any setbacks and I don’t wear myself down or anything like that. The good thing is I’m fresh, I’m ready to go. I’ve had some time off and I’m ready to go.”

The Broncos will be without defensive players Derek Wolfe and Kayvon Webster Sunday as well. Wolfe hasn’t been medically cleared from the training staff and Webster suffered a broken thumb in the loss to San Diego. Keep in mind that Denver is still without safety Rahim Moore and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, two key parts of their defense.

Prediction:

I believe Denver received a wake-up call last Thursday night and will rise to the challenge in defeating Houston on the road. Denver’s loss was a good one in my opinion moving forward; rather lose one now then in the playoffs, but the defense will have to step up, including the secondary.

Final Score:

Denver Broncos 35 — Houston Texans 24

Topics: Denver Broncos

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