1. Schaub stays clean-
In eight games this season, Schaub's thrown 10 interceptions and been sacked 17 times. He needs to play efficiently for the Texans to be in this contest. But his hands will be full against a Denver defense that features outside linebacker Von Miller and defensive end Shaun Phillips.
"They have a great pass rush," Schaub said. "They play a lot of guys in the secondary at linebacker. They disguise a lot of looks, and they make plays. So far this years they’ve played in a lot of games with leads, and they kind of make teams one dimensional."
One of Schaub's signature games as a professional came last season at Denver. He tossed a quartet of touchdown passes, including a 60-yarder to
“We just made some big plays," Schaub said. "We came out throwing. We had some good plays in the running game, but our guys protected against a very good pass rush, and made some big plays. We’ve got to go find a way to do that again.”
2. Run game help- The Texans were able to strike deep last season because the Broncos bit on the play-action pass. That team featured an
"Chick does a good job with him preparation-wise and then we try to take away, again, things he’s not comfortable with, whether it’s protection or whatever," Phillips said. "He’s either got to learn it by us working with him or we’ve got to eliminate those things as far as the game plan's concerned."
Johnson has averaged 4.2 yards per carry in limited action this season, and his longest run has gone for 29 yards. Schaub sounded enthusiastic when asked about his trust in the rookie ball-carrier.
"He’s shown that he can run the football and runs hard," Schaub said. "One thing I like about him is he’s always falling forward. When you see a running back always getting that extra yard or extra half yard, that counts. That adds up.”
3. Tight end depth-
Griffin had a career-best six receptions for 62 yards against the Colts, and he embraces his increased role in the offense.
"Guys in this locker room are looking to me to make plays on the field being the starting tight end," Griffin said. "That's exactly what I wanted to do. I made some mistakes out there but I'm learning and I'm ready to get after it this week."
4. O-line protection- The offensive line will need to keep Schaub upright. With Phillips and Miller applying pressure, left tackle
"It’s all about being clean, executing and playing penalty free, being disciplined," Brown said. "We cut those two out, the penalties and cleaner play, we’ll have success. The effort is there. The talent is there. We just have to find ways to clean it up. Hopefully, we can do that this week.”
5. Dre's Big Day?- With one catch, Andre Johnson will have 100 receptions in 2013. It will be the
"I’m looking forward to him breaking that record, or tying that record and going forward," Phillips said. "I’m going to claim him no matter what. I don’t know if he’ll claim me as a head coach, but I’m going to claim him when he goes in the Hall of Fame.”
Johnson reflected on it as well, and remained nonchalant.
“It’s pretty good," Johnson said. "I don’t think you really realize it until you’re probably finished playing, and you look over your career, and you just see some of the things that you accomplished as a player. I think that’s when you really realize it."