Denver Broncos vs Houston Texans Preview

The Denver Broncos (4-8) are travel to Houston to take on the Texans (8-4) this Sunday. The spread is set and it favors the Texans by nine points with a 42.5-point over/under. The Denver Broncos are coming off a big win over the Chargers while the Texans are coming off an even bigger win over the New England Patriots.

For the Broncos, Drew Lock will look to build on his first start and continue to develop as a franchise quarterback. He will definitely have an opportunity to shine because the Texans’ secondary is pretty banged up with both former Bronco Bradley Roby and former Raider Gareon Conley questionable to play. If the Texans’ secondary is at a weakened state, Drew Lock can look to make plays through the air and hopefully challenge the Texans on their home field.

The Broncos’ injury situation is also in a bad spot as Von Miller could potentially miss his second straight game. Ja’Wuan James is looking like he could play after sitting last week with concerns regarding his medically-cleared injury. Ronald Leary will be out as the team promoted Austin Schlottmann to the starting right guard position. Derek Wolfe was placed on Injured Reserve, and Malik Reed is also questionable to play.

The Broncos’ offense put up 23 points last week, the defense generated some turnovers to provide a short field, special teams played really well, and the offensive line nearly put together a complete game which helped lead to a win. Lock looked like he could play the game at a high level, but he also missed some open throws, took a risk that resulted in an interception, and the offense fell asleep in the third quarter with the inability to convert third downs.

Lock was fortunate to get a victory in regulation in his first start as it makes all the mistakes that were made more palatable. He has a lot to learn and still has not proven much but showing improvement and remaining competitive will be steps in the right direction.

The defense last week held the Chargers to 20 points, but 17 of those points were scored in the second half which has become a frightening pattern. Both the offense and defense have been dominant in the first half of games, then fallen off to an extreme degree in the second. For the Broncos to come out of Houston with a win, some of the season trends will need to be broken.

The Broncos haven’t scored a fourth-quarter touchdown in almost two months, so they will need to do that if they want to beat the Texans. The offense has been extremely bad on third-down conversions in 2019, and that will need to show significant signs of improvement. Halftime adjustments on both sides of the ball have proven to be inadequate all year long, resulting in comeback win after comeback win. To beat the Texans, both sides of the ball need to put together complete performances. Finally, the offensive line, which played great last week, needs to build off that performance and keep Drew Lock clean, minimize penalties, and open up running lanes to get Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman going.

I don’t have a ton of faith that this team can go into Houston and steal a victory, but I do believe they will beat the spread and this game will give Drew Lock a lot of film to study and improve with. The benefits of losing this game will be the draft position, the player development, and a gauge against one of the best teams in football.

The Broncos still believe they have one of the top defenses in the league and the data supports that the offense has been the problem all year long. With the Texans banged up on the defensive side of the ball, there will be an opportunity for the Broncos to score some points and move the football. I would look for the Broncos to break their season high scoring effort of 24 points, but Deshaun Watson and that dynamic, versatile, explosive offense will put up some points to keep a lead.

Prediction: Texans 30, Broncos 27

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