ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – There are plenty of potential distractions looming for the Broncos this weekend. With the right scenarios, the Broncos can clinch both the division and the home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The single-season record for passing touchdowns is on the horizon and there are several other records within the reach of the Broncos by season's end.
And Sunday, they'll be matching up with a team that hasn't won in three months. Regardless, the focus remains squarely on traveling to Houston and taking care of business.
"We don't look at records, we look at the tape," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "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 and guys that can dominate a football game. We're still getting to know them. They kind of had some injuries. They got some new players playing from the last time we played them so that's what we're focused on and I think we'll do a good job getting ready to play."
The Texans are 2-12, with their two wins coming in the first two weeks of the season. Injuries have been problematic for them this year as both running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate are now on the injured reserve list.
In addition, quarterback Matt Shaub is expected to play Sunday after playing only twice in the last eight games.
"Matt Shaub is a good quarterback," linebacker Von Miller said. "He's been a great quarterback for a long time. He's made some mistakes – probably more mistakes than what he's usually been doing but he's a great quarterback. He can make all the throws. We certainly saw what type of quarterback he was last year. They have the same team, same players as they had."
Miller went on to say that the Texans record is "not a clear indicator of what type of team they are."
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. agreed.
"Regardless of what their record is, they've got good players," he said. "So I think they're always a dangerous team and we have to look at them like they're coming to beat us."
And as other Broncos concurred, the same can be said for any team playing professional football.
Head Coach John Fox believes that as well.
"It's professional football, they've got good players," Fox said. "I mentioned earlier in the week, their two inside guys on defense might be as good—or playing as good—as anybody in the league. They're all dangerous, that's why we line up and play."
And so preparation for the Texans has been no different than it would be for any opponent on the schedule with the minor exception being that the Broncos have had a few extra days to get ready.
Though there will be nine days in between games as opposed to the normal six, the team has approached them as they normally would – one day at a time, one game at a time.
"It's all about Houston," Manning said. 'I think we've done a good job taking things week-to-week. I think we've prepared well each week. We haven't always played as well as we would have liked. You like to transfer good practices to the playing field and thought we had a good day today. We need to have a good rest of the week. Its Houston, it's on the road and that's really all the focus is."