This could be the day Houston proves their AFC South title last season wasn’t due to Peyton Manning’s absence, as the Denver Broncos host the Texans Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The game begins at 4:25 p.m. EDT and will be shown by CBS, or watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Quarterback Peyton Manning and his arm strength were in question all week after his three-pick performance in Denver’s 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday.
Manning did manage to settle down and nearly led a fourth quarter surge with two touchdown passes, but Atlanta was able to kill the clock before any late-game heroics from the future Hall of Famer.
Running back Willis McGahee did his part against the Falcons, gaining 113 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, and receiver Demayrius Thomas caught eight balls for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately for Denver, the Texans may have something to prove against the Broncos' new quarterback.
During his prime in Indianapolis, Manning tortured the Texans, never allowing them to make the playoffs or even a shot at the AFC South title.
Houston now looks like the most dominant and balanced team in the AFC, with a rigid defense and a running game to match, having run down the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-7 last Sunday.
The Texans only gave up 117 total yards to the Jacksonville, and running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined for 184 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Houston’s defense might be down to linebacker Tim Dobbins, but linebacker Bryan Braman was upgraded from questionable to probable. Denver corner Chris Harris and linebacker Von Miller will were also moved from questionable to probable Sunday.
Betting Odds: Houston is favored by 3 points; Over/Under: 45 points
Prediction: Manning will have to keep an eye on Houston defensive end J.J. Watt, who has 6.5 sacks in his past four games dating back to last season. The Texans punishing defense will be Manning’s most difficult test to date, as he won’t be able to stay in the pocket for long stretches. Houston should dominate this match-up early and win.
Predicted Score: Houston 30, Denver 24