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By Dave Thomas

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 12: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass against the San Diego Chargers in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Credit, Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Can it truly get any worse for the Houston Texans this season? Apparently, the answer is yes.

The Texans, mired in a losing streak dating back to mid to late September, dropped their 12th straight game this past Sunday, a 25-3 defeat on the road in Indianapolis. With the loss, the Texans moved closer to claiming the top pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. Well, at least there is some comfort in having the worst team in the league.

Through key injuries, terrible performances from once reliable players, a coaching dismissal and even some in-fighting on the sidelines, the Texans still have a chance to end the season on a positive note over the next two Sundays. If you’re a betting person, however, don’t get too excited on putting your money on the Texans.

Broncos Ride Into Reliant Stadium

Next up for a Houston team spiraling even further southward is a date this Sunday at Reliant Stadium against the 11-3 Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. Yes, can’t get much more difficult than that.

Despite dropping an AFC West Division meeting at home last Thursday night to the San Diego Chargers, the Broncos still sit atop the AFC standings in the battle for home field throughout the playoffs. New England had a chance this past Sunday to move past the Broncos by virtue of their head-to-head encounter a few weeks ago, but the Patriots dropped a 24-20 decision on the road in Miami. That loss keeps Denver in the driver’s seat at the moment.

Manning the Likely MVP

As most of the universe knows, Manning is the odds-on favorite to win the league’s MVP award this season. All the veteran QB from Tennessee has done to date this season is throw for 4,811 yards and 47 touchdowns.

When it comes to the ground game, Knowshon Moreno (939 yards rushing) is closing in on a 1,000-yard season, while the top receiving threats for the Broncos include Demaryius Thomas (1,194 yards, 11 TDs) and Eric Decker (1,130 yards, 8 TDs).

On the defensive side of the ball, Denver turns to Danny Trevathan (114 total tackles) and Shaun Phillips (10 sacks) to anchor the attack.

For the Broncos, winning their last two games (at Houston, at Oakland) would mean they do not have to leave Denver to play again until they possibly reach the Super Bowl in New Jersey.

Despite playing in the friendly confines of the Mile High City in last year’s playoffs, the Broncos, as everyone knows, dropped a thrilling playoff contest to the Baltimore Ravens, who would go on to capture their second-ever Super Bowl title.

For Manning and Co., taking care of business in Houston and then Oakland the final weekend of the regular season is critical.

As for the all-time series between the two, Denver and Houston are tied at 2-2, with the Texans having won on the road last season by a 31-25 score.

For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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