By Jay Betsill
Denver Broncos vs Houston Texans
Sunday – December 22 – 12:00 PM
Reliant Stadium – Houston
In what has been an utterly forgettable season for the Houston Texans (2-12) and their fan-base, the bad news continued to pour on this week following their 25-3 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday. Go ahead and add running back Ben Tate to the long list of injured Texans as he was placed on injured reserve after aggravating a rib injury that he originally suffered on October 20.
“Hate to end my season like this but it just wouldn’t be smart for me to keep playing after re-injuring 1 of my ribs that’s trying to heal,” Ben Tate said on his Twitter.
Interim head coach Wade Phillips also announced that quarterback Case Keenum is out Sunday with ligament damage in his thumb on his throwing hand. Matt Schaub will take Keenum’s place as the starter this week in the Texans home finale against the Denver Broncos (11-3).
“Our team is 100 percent behind him and I know our real fans are going to be cheering for our team and also for him,” Phillips said. “He’s had a rough year like all of us but he’s determined to come out and play well.”
Last season, the Texans defeated the Broncos 31-25 in Week 3 with Schaub throwing four touchdown passes, including a 60-yard pass to Andre Johnson and a 52-yard pass to Kevin Walter. What a difference a year makes as Schaub is possibly playing his final home game as a member of the Texans and he will be without most of his weapons including Arian Foster, Owen Daniels and Tate.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos come to Reliant Stadium on the heels of last Thursday night’s loss to the Chargers, but still in the hunt for home field advantage throughout the playoffs due to the Patriots losing to the Dolphins. Expect the Broncos to have this game in the bag by halftime and win going away 45-17.
In other Texans news, ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure confirmed on Thursday that the Texans interviewed former Bears head coach Lovie Smith for the team’s head coaching job that has been vacant since Gary Kubiak was fired December 6. Owner Bob McNair expects a quick turnaround back to contention next season, so it is expected he will hire someone who has previous NFL head coaching experience.