For one of the first times this season, the big quarterback story in today’s Denver Broncos game isn’t about Peyton Manning. As the Broncos head to Houston to take on the Texans, embattled Houston quarterback Matt Schaub will return for the first time in eight weeks. The Texans, a pre-season Super Bowl contender, enter today’s Broncos vs Texans game without a head coach and reverting to a QB who was booed loudly at home. Manning, on the other hand, leads the Broncos into a game that means very little since they’ve clinched a playoff spot but will surely bolster his MVP-worthy season. Watch Broncos vs Texans online free live using the links below or on CBS.
The last time Texans QB Schaub took the field, he was greeted with boos so loud that Houston had to go to a silent snap count. And yes, that was a home game. Today’s Broncos vs Texans game also takes place at Reliant Stadium. Will the Texans faithful greet him differently now that Schaub’s had eight games away? Or will fans’ memories of his poor performances earlier this season inspire catcalls once again?
Schaub’s turnovers early in the season set a bad tone for the Texans. It reached a pinnacle in Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers, when Schaub threw three interceptions, including a pick-six. The following week, then-coach Kubiak replaced Schaub with Case Keenum, citing Schaub’s injury. It was just a convenient excuse. Keenum was capable for weeks, but his struggles in the past few games inspired interim head coach Wade Phillips to re-insert Texans QB Schaub, whom you’ll see start for the first time in eight weeks when you watch Broncos vs Texans online free live today.
Denver’s quarterback situation is infinitely better with Peyton Manning, as is their playoff position. Last week’s loss to the San Diego Chargers got the Broncos attention, but knocking them down to an 11-3 record has to be taken in context. The Broncos today face a 2-12 Texans team that may look good on paper but has lost 12 games in a row. The fact that the Texans are playing against the Broncos Peyton Manning can’t be overlooked either, as Manning has a lifetime 16-3 record against Houston.
In theory this could be a duel. The Denver Broncos have the top-rated passing game and overall offense in the NFL, while the Houston Texans have the league’s fourth-ranked defense. When the sides are switched, the Texans’ 11th-ranked offense will go against the Broncos 23rd-ranked defense, seemingly making the matchup favorable for the Texans. The Broncos offense vs Texans defense seems like a particularly tough matchup until you dig a bit. Opponents have attempted a mere 409 passes against the Texans this season, either because Houston is always behind so teams don’t have to pass, or because the Texans have the 24th-ranked run defense and dare other teams to run.
Either way, nobody is predicting the Broncos to overlook today’s game and lose. To see for yourself, you can watch Broncos vs Texans online free live on DirecTV’s website if you subscribe to that cable provider’s NFL Sunday Ticket and have the MAX package add-on. The package comes with an additional subscription fee, but if you pay it you’ll be able to watch the live streaming version free of any NFL game, including today’s 1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST Week 16 NFL game between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.