Game Overview ::
By Mike Johnson >>
- One of many games this week where the favored team is trying to bounce back after a surprising loss and the underdog is coming off of an emotional win (or tie in this case).
- Houston doesn’t have any tactical or personnel advantages to exploit and has the tough task of playing a road game in Denver in September.
- Denver will be looking to redeem themselves after a Monday night fiasco that was embarrassing on many levels.
- Denver’s offensive metrics indicate likely positive regression in scoring, while Houston mostly relied on their opponent’s mistakes to put points up in Week 1.
How Houston Will Try To Win ::
The Texans had an impressive opening week performance that was ruined by head coach Lovie Smith curling up in a shell and just hoping time would run out in regulation once they built a 20-3 lead and then punting with 20 seconds left at midfield and settling for a tie. The Texans will try to ride their “kissing your sister” feeling to a road victory in Denver. Over the years, Denver has been notorious for being a difficult place for opposing teams to play, specifically early in the season, due to the altitude. This Week 2 matchup against a team that had a very disappointing opening week will certainly be a test of whether or not this Texans team is “for real” after hanging tough against the highly regarded Colts in Week 1.
Houston had a relatively balanced run/pass split in Week 1, with 40 pass plays and only 28 rushing attempts despite holding a lead for much of the game. Houston also played at the 4th fastest situation-neutral pace in the league in Week 1, after being bottom-10 in the league in 2021 in the same category. The Broncos defense should be a tough test, as they held the Seahawks to only 253 total yards in Week 1 and the Texans don’t really have any elite talents on their offense. The Texans will play scrappy and smart football, playing conservative but taking some calculated shots to try and pull off the road upset. Misdirection and spreading the ball around is likely Houston’s best chance of consistently moving the ball against the Broncos, as vanilla schemes or forcing the ball up the middle on the ground or through the air to Brandin Cooks is unlikely to get the job done.
How Denver Will Try to win ::
By Dwprix >>
- Despite DEN playing below expectations last week (16 pts, loss to SEA) & HOU playing above expectations (20 pts, tie with IND), DEN is a 10 point favorite
- The game is tied with SF/SEA for the second highest spread on week (as of Tuesday)
- Total has climbed from 42.5 to 46
- HOU D allowed the most total yards last week to IND (517)
- DEN had the 4th most last week (433)
- Mills was sacked 3 times last week
- His 37 attempts were the third most of his career (14 games)
- He threw 49 times vs SEA & 43 times vs IND last season
- Mills has two 300+ yard games in his career
- Last week Mills targeted 11 players
- DEN vs Geno Smith last week: 23:28:195:2 TDs
- Cooks saw 12 tgts last week (33% tgt share)
- No other HOU WR saw more than 3
- Cooks has 10 or more tgts in four of his last five (12 // 4 // 11 // 10 // 11)
- All of these were with Mills
- It was thought Dameon Pierce would get the majority of snaps last week (First on depth chart, Texans declaring Pierce the starter)
- Snaps (of 70): Rex Burkhead-50 // Dameon Pierce 20
- Burkhead: Rush 14:40 // Pass 5:30-8 tgts
- Pierce: Rush 11:33 // Rec 1:6-1 tgt
- Wilson only has two 300+ yd passing game over his last 16
- One came last week: 29:42:340:1 TD
- Over those same 16 games, he only has two with over 30 yds rushing
- He has 4 total TD games in those 16
- In the first three games of last season, Wilson started with 9 TDs & just 1 INT
- Wilson targeted 10 receivers last week
- HOU allowed to Matt Ryan: 32:50:352:1 tD:1 INT
- Michael Pittman went 9:121:1 TD against HOU last week
- Jeudy & Sutton both saw 7 tgts
- Jeudy 4:102:1 TD // Sutton 4:72
- KJ Hamler was on the field for 31 of 47 pass snaps & had only 1 tgt
Javonte Williams/Melvin Gordon
- Javonte led team in tgts (12)
- Gordon led in rush attempts (12)
- Snaps: Javonte-38 // Gordon-27
- 29 of Javonte’s 38 snaps were on pass plays (13 pass plays for Gordon)
- DEN drafted TE Greg Dulcich in the 3rd round // He’s on IR & will miss at least four games
- Snaps: Albert O. 44 // Tomlinson-20 // Saubert-18
- Tgts: Albert O. 6 // Saubert-1 // Tomlinson-1