The History and trends are compelling.
However, many of you find the actual match-ups more important than the history when picking winners. In a previous article I highlighted the match-ups that I believe hold the key to the game. The Texans offensive line is not effective against elite front sevens. Brock Osweiler throws poorly when pressured (Denver’s pass defense is ranked #1 in the NFL). Lamar Miller needs an actual hole to run effectively. Game, set match.
Beyond the Texans prime time history, the frothing-at-the-mouth Broncos fans and the shortcomings of the Texans’ offensive line that impact key skill position players, there are other factors favoring the Broncos. For instance, the Texans secondary, ranked 2nd in the NFL, is now decimated by injury. Except for Jadeveon Clowney, who the Texans would like to move around, no defensive end has emerged.
Still more – the Texans defense’s poor performance against the run culminated last week in the Colts having their first 100 yard rusher since 2012. DeAndre Hopkins is hampered by a hamstring, Osweiler by a sore foot, Clowney by a wrist.
Sure, the Broncos have issues, too. Quarterback Trevor Siemian is recovering from an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. He played in last week’s Thursday night loss to the Chargers, but was obviously not at full strength. After an 11 day “mini-bye” Gary Kubiak says Siemian looks much better. Overall, the Broncos are healthy for this stage of the season with only DeMarcus Ware and Cody Latimer missing Thursday’s practice.
After opening at -7 the betting line has moved as high as Broncos -9. That’s an indication that bettors are placing a disproportionate amount of money on the Broncos despite their two consecutive losses. The Over/Under is even more interesting.
In their first three games the Broncos were “Over” the number. In their last three games they were “Under”. The Texans were “Under” for their first three games and “Over” for the last three. Which trend do you follow?
I’m giving the 7 points, or the current 9 for that matter. It’s close, but I’m predicting the “Under”. I don’t expect the Texans to put many points on the Board. Broncos win 27-13.