The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are set for an AFC battle tonight in which the loser will be able to have the knowledge after the game of being able to sit at home and watch the NFL Playoffs from the comfort of their couch. In other words, the loser of tonight’s matchup is basically done as far as the playoffs are concerned. Dreams of the postseason may already be done, but for now, both teams have somewhat slim chances of being a 6th seed, but both need to win out and have plenty of other teams lose along the way.
These two teams have both been up and down this season, with showing signs of being very good one week, and the next playing like a bottom-feeder. Both come in after impressive wins, the Broncos crushing the Chiefs 41-7 at home last week, while the Texans topped the NFC South leading Bucs 28-14. Both teams have had stretches this season of two two-game winning streaks, and the winner tonight will have their third.
In breaking down this game, the Broncos will look to run first against what is a solid Texans pass rush. Open up the run, and then once you look to throw downfield you can run play-action against the Texans. That will be key, as the Texans goal on defense will be to get to Jay Cutler and force him into some mistakes. The QB has thrown 17 TD’s and 12 picks this season, and has had games where the mistakes have outweighed the good.
On the offensive side for the Texans, they will use their two backs, Ron Dayne and Darius Walker to try and cross-up the Broncos, who can be run upon all day. Get those two or one of those two going and you can then look to take some shots down the field with Andre Johnson and Andre Davis, not to mention Kevin Walter. Sage Rosenfels gets the call to start tonight, and he’s actually looked pretty good in relief of an injured Matt Schaub, throwing 11 TD’s and 7 picks.
Ball control and playing mistake free will be the key for each team. The Broncos played great last week in controlling the awful Chiefs, and if they can carry that momentum with them on the road tonight, they should walk out of Relient Stadium with still a slim shot at the postseason.