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Broncos, Texans faced with plenty of lineup changes

12:31 AM, Dec 22, 2013   |    comments
Nov 24, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) warms up against the Jacksonville Jaguars before the game at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
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Five storylines to look for in Sunday's game between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans (11 a.m. kickoff):

ANDRE THE GIANT: Houston receiver Andre Johnson needs one catch to reach 100 receptions for the fifth time in his career. If he reaches the mark, it will tie him with Denver's Wes Welker for most 100-catch seasons in NFL history. He needs 205 yards to reach 1,500 yards receiving and become the first player in NFL history to have four seasons with at least 100 receptions and 1,500 yards receiving.

WELKER QUESTIONABLE: Wes Welker is out again for Sunday's game after sustaining his second concussion in four weeks on Dec. 8. Welker has 73 catches for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns. He needs eight receptions to tie Rod Smith for most catches by an undrafted player in NFL history.

"The biggest thing with him is we just want to make sure he's healthy," Broncos coach John Fox said. "When they give us the go-ahead, we'll have him out here. Right now, our biggest concern is Wes' health. When he's available, he'll be available."

SCHAUB'S BACK: Matt Schaub will start at quarterback in place of an injured Case Keenum against the Broncos. Schaub, who was benched after six games, will start for the first time since Oct. 13. Keenum has an injury to a ligament in his right thumb and was unable to grip the football this week.

"I'm excited to get back out there with my teammates," Schaub said. "Go out there and cut it loose, and end these last two weeks on a good note."

Schaub last played in the second half at Jacksonville on Dec. 5 and moved the ball well before throwing an interception on what could have been the go-ahead drive in a 27-20 loss.

A Houston loss and a Washington win clinches the first overall draft pick for the Texans.

KNOWSHON'S SEASON: Denver's Knowshon Moreno needs 8 yards rushing to tie his career-high of 947 from his rookie year in 2009, and is 61 yards from his first 1,000-yard rushing season and the 20th in Denver history. Moreno is 19 yards receiving from 500. If he reaches both of the milestones, he'll be the first player in franchise history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in a single season.

RUNNING BACK WOES: The Texans, who were already without star Arian Foster, took another blow to their running game this week when Ben Tate (rib) was placed on injured reserve. Tate hadn't missed a game despite playing with four broken ribs since October.

Undrafted rookie Dennis Johnson, who was signed in late October, will start Sunday. Johnson has appeared in seven games this season with 37 carries for 154 yards.


(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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