2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Broncos swear they're not taking Texans lightly

    2013-12-19 17:45

(Eds: Adds details, quotes. With AP Photos.)
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Teams swear they don't look at their opponents' records. Rankings are another story.

By that measure, the Denver Broncos see one of the league's top teams in the Houston Texans, who have lost their last dozen games and plenty of their best players to injuries.

The Texans (2-12) own the NFL's 11th-best offense and fourth-best defense, and they're ranked second against the pass.

That puts them right up there with the Broncos (11-3) and Seattle Seahawks (12-2), the two teams that oddsmakers favor to reach the Super Bowl.

''I think they are a great team,'' Broncos linebacker Von Miller insisted.

Don't laugh, Peyton Manning said.

Eight of Houston's losses were by a touchdown or less.

''We don't look at records, we look at the tape,'' said Manning. ''On offense, we see a good defense. We see some outstanding players when you're talking about guys like (Antonio) Smith and (J.J.) Watt, guys that can dominate a football game.''

With Matt Schaub starting for the first time since Oct. 13 in place of injured Case Keenum, Denver's defenders see the same quarterback who threw four touchdown passes in Houston's win over the Broncos last season.

A lot has changed since then.

Manning found his footing, going 23-5 since that 31-25 loss on Sept. 23, 2012. He's four TD passes shy of breaking Tom Brady's single-season record of 50 and is favored to win his fifth MVP award with the Broncos once again jockeying for prime playoff position.

Schaub has been benched, booed at home and enters Sunday's game without four members of his supporting cast who helped him win at Denver last year. Kevin Walker was cut in the offseason, and Arian Foster, Owen Daniels and Ben Tate are all on IR.

In his last cameo appearance at home, against Oakland a month ago, Schaub was booed so loudly that the Texans had to use a silent count on some snaps.

The Broncos simply see a good team that's had a run of bad luck.

''We're gearing up for a challenge, a good football team that's maybe had a rough year, but still a very talented football team that's very capable,'' Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said.

Watt's sacks have gone down from 20 1/2 last season to 9 1/2 this year, but the Broncos contend this is another case where the numbers don't tell the whole story.

''I'm looking at 42 quarterback hits,'' Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. ''The sack numbers are irrelevant because he makes teams get rid of the ball quicker. ... I don't know how he gets there so quickly. I've never seen anything like it.''

The Broncos are favored by double digits Sunday, but then again they were big favorites last Thursday night against San Diego and lost 27-20 to the Chargers at home.

''That loss kind of woke us up,'' Miller said. ''It's unfortunate that we had to have a loss to get that sense of urgency but I think the sense of urgency is getting back. We know what we can do. We've been preaching all year what type of team that we have and what we're capable of. It's about that time for us to start putting it out there on the field.''

The Broncos still own the tiebreaker over the Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) in the AFC West but they can ill afford another slip-up. There was a decidedly different tone at practice after their truncated week leading up to kickoff on the final Thursday night game of the season.

''I think we do better with a full week of practice,'' Manning said.

And after losses.

After their last four defeats in the regular season, the Broncos have won by an average of 18 points the following week.

Notes: Coach John Fox said Wes Welker (concussion) has been running in the weight room this week and ''he's feeling better every day.'' ... DE Derek Wolfe also has been working out to regain his strength and stamina. He suffered seizure-like symptoms on Nov. 29. ... It looks like CB Champ Bailey will play in the nickel and dime packages Sunday. He's missed a career-high 11 games with a nagging foot injury but said Thursday he isn't thinking about retirement. ''Oh no,'' he said laughing. ''I'm thinking about winning on Sunday.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Trent RichardsonJul 6 01:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson lost some weight this offseason and showed some quickness during offseason workouts, according to offensive line coach Mike Tice.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 6 01:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul's (hand) fireworks incident has led to the Giants withdrawing their long-term offer to Pierre-Paul which would have paid him $60 million, according to sources.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 6 01:13p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) is still in a Miami hospital after suffering injuries to his hand from a fireworks accident.

C.J. AndersonJul 6 08:43a

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball is expected to receive seven or eight carries a game, while RB C.J. Anderson serves as the bellcow with 18 per game, in the [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 5 07:13p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) injured his hands in a fireworks accident, according to multiple sources. He was still meeting with doctors after being hospitalized for his [ More ]

Andrew QuarlessJul 4 01:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Andrew Quarless was arrested early Saturday, July 4, for allegedly firing a gun into the ground, according to police. Quarless supposedly was involved in a [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJul 3 10:23p

Atlanta Falcons RB Tevin Coleman should end up starting Week 1 ahead of RB Devonta Freeman, according to Steven Ruiz of USA TODAY Sports, because Coleman has top-end speed [ More ]

Ladarius GreenJul 3 03:33p

San Diego Chargers TE Ladarius Green likely will be the starting tight end with TE Antonio Gates being suspended for the first four games of the season.

Dez BryantJul 3 12:53p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has had no progress in contract talks with the team, according to sources. The Cowboys are not budging off their offer of a long-term [ More ]

Darren McFaddenJul 2 11:03p

Dallas Cowboys RB Darren McFadden has topped 155 carries just twice in his seven years in the league, and he has averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry in [ More ]

Antonio GatesJul 2 04:33p

Updating a previous report, San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. It was previous reported that [ More ]

Antonio GatesJul 2 04:13p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Datone JonesJul 2 04:03p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Rolando McClainJul 2 03:03p

Dallas Cowboys LB Rolando McClain has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy and program for substances of abuse.

S. RichardsonJul 2 02:23p

New York Jets DT Sheldon Richardson has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse.

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group