Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos: Bold Predictions for Each Team

Jeremy SickelContributor IIISeptember 23, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls a play against the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Houston Texans travel to Mile High Stadium Sunday to take on the Denver Broncos in a game that could be an AFC playoff preview.

The Texans have been about as impressive as any team that we have seen so far in the 2012 season. The Broncos, while looking good at times, are navigating through a very difficult stretch of their schedule right now.

Houston has been able to do whatever they want to the opposition, ranking ninth in the league in offense at 374 yards per game and first in total defense by allowing only 196 yards per game.

Health may be the only thing that keeps the Texans from finally putting it all together this season.

The Broncos were expected to be improved from the 2011 team that won the AFC West.

That showed in the Week 1 31-19 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Peyton Manning was slow out of the gate against the Atlanta Falcons last week, throwing three interceptions in the first quarter. Denver would eventually lose that game 27-21.

While both offenses are capable of moving the ball and lighting up the scoreboard, this game has the makings of a defensive struggle.

Here is one bold prediction for each team in Sunday's matchup:


Texans Fail to Crack 80 Rushing Yards as a Team

After a relatively slow start in their running game against the Miami Dolphins with only 83 yards, the Texans made certain that wouldn't happen in Week 2 as they tallied 216 rushing yards on 48 carries against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While those stats are indicative of where each of those teams rank in the league against the run, the Texans will definitely need to find success on the ground to balance out an offense that also features Andre Johnson in the passing game.

The Broncos rank seventh in the league against the run, allowing only 71 yards per game through the season's first two weeks.

A tough road environment against a solid defense could take Houston out of their game plan a bit. Arian Foster and Ben Tate will have to work extra hard for every yard this week.


Peyton Manning Held Without Passing Touchdown 

Manning is arguably the best quarterback that the NFL has ever seen. He has the third-most passing touchdowns in league history behind Brett Favre and Dan Marino.

Rare are games when Manning is shut out of the end zone, but it has happened 25 times in his career. A stingy Texans defense has the ability to make it 26, however.

Houston ranks first in overall defense, in large part by only allowing 124 passing yards per game. The Texans have only allowed one touchdown through the air and get decent pressure on the opposing quarterback as well.

What is interesting about how well the Texans do against the pass is that teams are still not able to rack up the stats while playing from behind, usually where passing numbers are inflated.

While this game is at home, Denver would do well to limit Manning's exposure to the Houston defense, putting more importance on Willis McGahee and the Broncos' backfield to shoulder the load.


Contact Jeremy at jeremy@popflyboys.com, on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy and at popflyboys.com.