Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- Denver enters this game on a five game winning streak, having beaten several playoff teams over that time.
- Rookie sensation CJ Stroud will have his work cut out for him this week against a red-hot Broncos defense.
- This game is surprisingly very important in the AFC playoff picture as both teams sit at 6-5 with paths to a playoff berth.
- The Broncos offense continues to be very conservative, leaning on their defense to set them up with short fields off turnovers.
- This game has the second highest implied total of the week on the main slate.
How denver Will Try To Win ::
The Broncos have bounced back from an embarrassing start to the year that was highlighted by a 50-point loss to the Dolphins and are now in the thick of the AFC playoff race. This rejuvenation has been led by their defense holding six straight opponents to 22 or fewer points and forcing 15 turnovers in their last four games. The Broncos have won five straight games and all of those wins came against teams who are currently in the playoff hunt with records of 5-6 or better. That is critical information because we often see teams on these hot streaks but it has happened thanks to soft spots in the schedule. The Broncos seem for real and appear like they will be a tough out for the remainder of the season.
The Broncos are one of only twelve NFL teams who throw the ball on fewer than 60% of their offensive plays. They rank 26th in the NFL in pass rate over expectation (PROE) and Russell Wilson ranks second to last in the NFL in average intended air yards per pass attempt among qualifying, healthy QB’s. The only regular starting quarterback who is pushing the ball downfield less than Wilson this season is Bryce Young, and we all know how much that Panthers offense has struggled. Those rate stats tell the story of an extremely conservative Broncos offense that is asking Wilson to just manage the game and “don’t lose it for us.” When throwing the ball, Courtland Sutton has been the primary wide receiver target and has had some success in the red zone. Jerry Jeudy and Marvin Mims have also been more involved recently, but the overall lack of aggression through the air has left the Broncos passing game as a spot of frustration and inconsistency.
The Broncos running game involves three players, with Javonte Williams leading the way and coming off his highest snap rate of the season. Williams has opportunity (carries plus targets) of counts of 24, 13, 25, 30, and 19 during the Broncos five game winning streak. Both Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin remain involved and both of them see targets and some goal line work on a weekly basis, but the high volume of rushing for Denver along with Wilson’s propensity to check down to the running backs keep this as a situation with plenty of volume.
Denver is on a roll and has the playoffs squarely in their sights. Four of their five games after this week are against teams who currently have losing records, giving the Broncos a terrific chance at making the playoffs. Knocking off the Texans, who have the same record as the Broncos, would be huge for their playoff chances. They have ridden a conservative offensive game plan and an opportunistic defense to this point and will look to do the same here, hoping to slow things down rather than getting into a track meet with the young gunslinging quarterback across the way.