Defense prepares for Andrew Luck without Cushing

For the third-straight time, the Texans defense will face Andrew Luck without Brian Cushing. Luck, who has rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns this season, will challenge the middle of the field on Sunday without Houston's Pro Bowl linebacker.

"Well, we've had to play without him before," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said about Cushing. "We feel good about the guys we have. I think they'll come in and play well for us. We've got guys with experience and have played inside. That's a good thing for us.

"We need to get some (Andrew) Luck this week and not have luck, but get some Luck this week," Phillips added.

Inside linebackers Darryl Sharpton and Joe Mays are up for the challenge with both posting personal bests in tackles at Kansas City. Each had nine tackles, a season-high for Sharpton and a career-high for Mays.

"We all have to step up and play a little bit better for the loss of Cush," Mays said. " Sharpton will start for Cushing alongside Mays who says he feels comfortable in the Texans' defense. Mays has been praised by both Gary Kubiak and Phillips on stepping up and being more vocal.

"I've always tried to be vocal, as vocal as I can, try to communicate as best I can. Just try to get all of the guys on the same page. That's all I do. That's what I just try to get us to do so we can all go out there and play ball."

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