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Houston Texans v. Denver Broncos (2014 Preseason): Three Matchups To Watch

Welcome to the NFL preseason, where the flags are made up and the points don't matter. What does matter, however, is who wins their individual battles on the field. Which of these matchups between the Texans and Broncos are the most important? Read on and find out.

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The Denver Broncos may have been made to look like amateurs against the Seattle Seahawks last February, but they are still one of the very best football teams on the planet. As far as barometers in the "dress rehearsal preseason game" go, Peyton Manning and company are about as good as it gets. Here are three matchups to keep an eye on tomorrow when both teams take the field.

Derek Wolfe vs. Xavier Su’a-Filo

Duane Brown holding off DeMarcus Ware will be fun, Von Miller eviscerating Derek Newton will be painful, but the matchup between two young high second round picks in Derek Wolfe and Xavier Su’a-Filo might be the most important trench battle of them all. Wolfe is coming off a scary end to his 2013 season while Su’a-Filo is trying to fight for a starting spot on an offensive line that suddenly looks very stout on the interior. John Harris noted that Wolfe dominated the Texans' offensive line in practice this week, so all eyes should be on XSF when Houston's first team offense is on the field. If he can hold his own against an intimidating Broncos front seven, he can hold his own against anyone.

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Aqib Talib

Hopkins and Talib got into a little scuffle at the end of Tuesday's practice, so I will be keeping a watchful eye on their matchup when the lights come on tomorrow night. Talib is a fantastic press corner who is not afraid to outmuscle receivers at the line of scrimmage, but Hopkins has shown in the past that he can beat jams very well for a young receiver. There are few better tests for a sophomore breakout candidate at receiver than Aqib Talib.  Nuk needs to make every snap count.

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Fitzmagic giveth, and the Fitztragic taketh a way. Which version of the Texans' passing attack are we going to see this week? The dreadful show that was put on in Arizona, or the more effective variant that blew up the Atlanta Falcons last Saturday? Who knows?  Denver has a good (and probably great) defense that should test the Texans on every single down. If Fitzpatrick can build upon his Week Two bounce-back and turn in at least a half decent performance in Denver, I may just start trading in my bleach for Kool-Aid.

Do I expect Houston to score a lot? Hell, no. Would I be giddy if it somehow happened anyway? You betcha.

What matchups are you most looking forward to seeing this week, BRB? Sound off below.

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