In a matchup earlier this season, the Texans defeated the Broncos by a score of 31 to 25. The final score, however, is not an indicator of how the majority of the game was played.
The Texans played excellent defense throughout the near entirety of the game, and they made Peyton Manning look confused and troubled. The Texans' offense dominated the game much like their defense had, and they carved up a Broncos' defense that had gained league renown after Tim Tebow's rise to fame.
In the last few minutes of the game, though, the Broncos attempted to pull off a desperate comeback, and they nearly succeeded. But the Texans managed to hang onto the game.
If the Broncos and Texans were to meet in the playoffs, it would likely be an exciting and heart-thumping rematch.
Here is how the Texans would matchup against the Broncos.
Quarterback: Although Schaub is certainly a top quarterback in the NFL, he is not in the upper echelon of quarterbacks that include Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and, of course, Peyton Manning. The Broncos' new quarterback seems to be just as great as he as always been. A healthy Manning can significantly alter any game he plays in, a trait that Schaub has not yet acquired.
Running Game: With Willis McGahee out, the nod here definitely has to be given to the Texans. Knowshon Moreno has filled in nicely for McGahee, but the rushing combination of Moreno, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman does not compare at all to Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Justin Forsett.
Receivers: Andre Johnson is a superstar wide receiver, but he is the Texans' only true receiving threat, aside from Owen Daniels. The Broncos, on the other hand, have two young stud receivers in Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. They both work extremely well with Manning, which creates an incredibly dangerous wide receiver, quarterback tandem.
Defense: In recent weeks, due to several key injuries, the Texans' defense has faltered. Normally, I would rank the Texans' defense over the Broncos' without a second thought, but given recent events, the prospective opponents are about equal to each other.