Last week, Brock Osweiler awoke in the fourth quarter and managed to drive the Texans down the field three times for three scores to win the game. Something tells me it won't be quite so easy this week against the Broncos.
What's worth the watch this week?
1. Starters On Secondary?
Kareem Jackson missed his second consecutive game last week with a hamstring issue. Johnathan Joseph has a forearm injury but is expected to play on Sunday. Kevin Johnson has broken his foot. Quintin Demps has a calf injury. K.J. Dillon has torn his ACL. Have I missed any other injuries in the secondary?
That leaves A.J. Bouye, Charles James, Robert Nelson, Andre Hal, Eddie Pleasant, Corey Moore, and the recently signed Don Jones as healthy defensive backs. They’ll hopefully be joined by Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph, both coming off injuries.
It's grim reading.
We've frequently been using four cornerbacks on the field with two safeties in the dime. With the state of the secondary, we may be pressed into going back to the 2015 strategy of using only three corners.
How will they hold up against Trevor Siemian?
2. Lamar Miller's On Fire
But will the Broncos’ defense be terrified?
What a game that man had against the Colts. I'll admit I wasn't liking what I saw from him so far and even went as far to say we should utilise Blue more than we have been to help Miller out. I was wrong. Massively wrong.
Bill O’Brien let Miller do his thing against the Colts and played to his strength by getting him in space.
The question is whether this can continue. Miller has already had a lot of touches and this Denver defense is significantly more talented than the Colts.
Miller’s impact against the Colts cannot be overstated and he'll be a key player to watch on Monday night.
3. Benardrick McKinney
Is McKinney now the best inside linebacker on the roster? Probably.
The man is everywhere on defense. Not only is he making tackles, he's getting sacks too. He came up with the crucial sack in overtime to take him to three total on the season. That also puts McKinney only second to Whitney Mercilus for sacks on the team through six games; Mercilus has 4.5. With 60 tackles, McKinney is third in the NFL behind only Luke Keuchly and Zach Brown, who have 68 and 67, respectively. McKinney has been the Texans’ most effective run stopper and has just been a general force out there.
I think he's a key watch as continues to step up in major situations, especially on third downs.
Will McKinney add to his sack total on Monday night?
4. Crennel Bringing The Heat
Romeo Crennel deserves a huge round of applause for his defensive play calling so far. He continues to mix things up and bring pressure from all over. Jadeveon Clowney lined up at DE, DT, OLB and ILB against the Colts. Sometimes, we had Clowney and Mercilus on the same side of the line. Sometimes we had Brian Cushing up at the line with McKinney stacked right on top of him. Houston’s front seven was shifted around all over the place, and it made things difficult for the Colts.
I think watching how the defense lines up, and how they pass rush or drop in coverage from their positions, is a fascinating potential key to the game. You just never know what is coming. That is a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.
Pressuring Trevor Siemian will be big in stopping the Broncos’ offense, particularly as we'll be trotting out a banged-up secondary that could struggle in coverage more than usual.
What do you think are the keys to Monday night’s game? Discuss below with your Texans brethren.