Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis

Brian McDonaldContributor IAugust 23, 2014

Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shake hands following a joint practice between the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Few tests are more difficult in the NFL than facing a team led by Peyton Manning.

Well, in the regular season that is, obviously. Normally, the third preseason game is treated as sort of a dress rehearsal, with players preparing the same way they would for a regular-season game, more plays being put in and starters taking the field for the first three quarters.

At least on the Houston Texans side, that won't be the case this year.

Last week the Texans did a great job of limiting the Falcons' first-team pass offense, as Pro Bowl wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones only caught one pass each. An even tougher task awaits them with the Broncos, who are able to attack opponents with more than just outside receivers.

Even if the outside corners slow down Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, the defense also has to have slot corners, safeties and linebackers who can cover Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. That's a nearly impossible task.

With several players back, if the Texans are able to perform as well tonight as they did last week against Atlanta, genuine excitement about the team's potential should start to grow quickly.