The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans played against each other on Sunday, with both franchises having something very important on the line -- just on different ends of the spectrum. Both nearly got what they wanted, as the Broncos beat the Texans, 37-13, to improve to 12-3. The win, coupled with the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, means that Denver has clinched the AFC West title and a bye week in the playoffs.
In beating the Texans, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 51 passing touchdowns on the season -- an NFL record. Manning passed the mark of 50 touchdowns set by the Patriots' Tom Brady in 2007 when he found tight end Julius Thomas with just over four minutes left in the game to give him the record.
The loss drops Houston to 2-13 and almost guarantees them the No. 1 pick next May in the 2014 NFL Draft. If the Texans lose in Week 17 or the Washington Redskins win, then Houston will be picking first overall next year. If both finish with the same record, then the pick could be headed to the Rams by way of the Redskins via the 2012 trade for Robert Griffin III.
Updated NFL Draft Order
Updated NFL Draft Order
Fantasy Studs and Duds
Manning is an obvious stud. Receiver Eric Decker was the recipient on two of those touchdowns, to go along with 131 receiving yards. Demaryius Thomas had 123 yards and a touchdown of his own, while tight end Julius Thomas had 78 yards and a score. Knowshon Moreno even chipped in 102 total yards.
Matt Schaub was not so good for the Texans, throwing for 176 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Wide receiver Andre Johnson had four catches for 63 yards, giving him at least 100 catches for the fifth time in his career -- that ties an NFL record as well. However, he was scoreless in Week 16.
In what could be bad news for the Denver Broncos, star linebacker Von Miller left the game with what could be a serious knee injury. He will be re-evaluated on Monday.
Did They Cover?
The Broncos were 9.5-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com, so they covered easily.
Denver wraps up its season in Week 17 by heading to Oakland to play the Raiders on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 4:25 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, the Texans travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m. ET.