Brock Osweiler has had a terrible season for the Houston Texans. The four-year, $72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed looks like an absolute oversight by the AFC South side and arguably the worst free-agent signing of 2016.
Yet, thanks to in large part head coach Bill O'Brien, the Texans find themselves in the playoffs once more for the second season in a row with a winnable game against a hindered Oakland Raiders side lacking their star quarterback, Derek Carr.
Even if they do win their wildcard game this weekend, the road to the Super Bowl doesn't have to stop after one victory for Houston, because we've already seen a team recently go through the same adversity at the quarterback position and be successful; the 2015 Denver Broncos.
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The Texans have a stout defense - slightly worse than the 2015 Broncos but still great - that can carry the team through the postseason so long as the offense compliments this by staying operational.
The 2015 Broncos did an almost even split of running and passing plays in the playoffs due to their middle-of-the-pack offense, but this won't be the same for the Texans. Their running game ranks eighth in the league so long as they stay consistent with that and their defense, they can run out the clock in games.
Quite simply, all Osweiler has to do is make sure he doesn't play terrible and Houston can make the Super Bowl. We know this just by looking at how Peyton Manning played for the Broncos last season.
2015 was a year to forget statistically for Manning, with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions and a completion percentage of 59.8 percent after 10 games played and a quarterback rating (QBR) of 67.9. The better part of the Broncos' offense actually came when Osweiler was playing under center.
However, in the playoffs, Manning did just enough to help his team win it all, throwing two touchdowns and only one interception with a completion percentage of 55.4 and a QBR of 75.4 after three games. Their defense did the rest in those games against stellar offenses like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and the Carolina Panthers to win the Super Bowl.
There's no reason why Osweiler can't do the same for the Texans. He's being much more productive than what Manning was last season but is grabbing the headlines thanks to his contract, and the team's defense is only slightly underperforming the 2015 Broncos.
This is a chance for him to dust himself off and earn the respect of Houston. One of his best games came in week 11 against the Raiders in Mexico City. He was 26-of-39 for 243 yards on the night, with a touchdown, an interception, and a season-high QBR of 81.8. They marginally lost the game because of the performances of Carr, who won't be playing this time around.
If Osweiler can just not play terrible, with the Houston defense and running game staying strong, there's no reason why the Texans can't go deep into the playoffs. You only have to look at last year's Broncos for a clear example as to why that could be the case.
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