Safety Will Demps came up big against Tampa Bay, recording a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
If the Texans defeat the Broncos, they will be 7-7 for the first time in franchise history. The team practiced hard Tuesday to get ready for their prime-time game.
Family reunion: For the third time in his career, quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan will coach against his dad, Denver head coach Mike Shanahan.
An extensive Shanahan clan will be in the stands for the game, including Kyle's mother Peggy, his sister Krystal and Peggy's mom and dad. The family is trying to remain nonpartisan, but Kyle has an idea about which team his mom will choose.
"I know who pays the bills and what house she lives in and where she's been most of her life," Kyle said. "I'd be surprised if she wasn't supporting them."
After the game, Mike and his family will stay the weekend to celebrate Kyle's birthday. Kyle will turn 28 years old on Friday and is the youngest position coach in the NFL.
"If they win, he can't stay at our place," Kyle said jokingly about his father. "They definitely will not be welcome."
Also, don't expect any family reunions between father and son before game.
"We haven't talked the past few days," Kyle said. "We don't really talk to each other when we play each other. I can't give him any chances to squeeze anything out of me. I know he'll try.
"We're competitive in everything. I like to give him a little crap at any chance I can, so it would be nice to get a win and have that opportunity, but it would be nice to get a win any week."
Looking at Cutler:The Texans will get their first look at quarterback Jay Cutler, who led Denver to a 41-7 win over Kansas City on Sunday. The second-year quarterback's four touchdown passes in the game did not go unnoticed by head coach Gary Kubiak.
"That kid they're playing with at quarterback is a very, very talented young man," Kubiak said. "He can do some amazing things and has great arm strength."
The players felt the same way.
"He's a young player and he's out there running the whole show, but he's doing a great job at it," said defensive end Mario Williams, who leads the team in sacks with 9.5. "He keeps his composure, and it'll be another tough challenge."
Safety Will Demps said the key to preparing for Culter will be keeping it simple on defense.
"We don't know what type of package we've got so far," Demps said. "We've kind of got a gist of what we're going to do, and it's definitely going to change over the course of time by Thursday. He is a great quarterback. He has a strong arm, and I think the way he's running the offense is great. They put up big numbers yesterday against Kansas City. So we have our test against a good quarterback and a good team."
Forced turnovers: The Broncos lead the league in forced turnovers. The Texans, at one point this season, led the NFL in turnovers committed. That combination could prove deadly, but Kubiak said he is preparing his troops accordingly.
"The number one thing they've done is get a bunch of turnovers," Kubiak said. "They really simplified what they had been doing throughout the year. They held Kansas City to 100-something yards of offense, which in this league is total domination."
Kubiak's game plan? That will be revealed come game time.
"They were dominant last week, probably as dominant as I've seen them in a while," Kubiak said. "We're coming off a game where we feel good about we did, so we're excited to go play in a game like this."
Ryans sits out: Linebacker DeMeco Ryans sat out of practice Tuesday, resting a deeply bruised right knee. Ryans took all the defensive calls and then watched his teammates practice from the sidelines.
The middle linebacker is known as a football warrior and despite being listed as day-to-day, Ryans is vowing he will play against the Broncos.
"If he can go, he can go," Kubiak said. "He's one of those kids. There are certain kids on your team that all you've got to do is ask them and if they tell you no, you know they must be hurting pretty bad. When he tells me, 'I'm going to be ready to go,' I'll trust him. I'd like to see him run around a little bit tomorrow, though."
Running back Ron Dayne also did not practiceso he could rest a sore ankle. He is expected to start on Thursday.
Injury report: For the Texans' official injury report, click here.