The Texans have a huge challenge on the horizon this week. They will face off with a tremendous Broncos’ defense on the road, in a stadium that happens to be Brock Osweiler’s previous place of employment. Houston has struggled this season against strong football teams, including brutal losses to both the Patriots and the Vikings. The Texans and the Broncos share many storylines, a few of which will be center stage when they meet at Mile High Stadium on Monday night. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
1. Osweiler is possibly going to be a train wreck. I mean, I honestly hope that I am wrong, but the guy has been mediocre at best against awful defenses, and downright terrible against good defenses. Here is where the Denver Broncos come in, with an overall defensive ranking of fourth. And did I mention that it’s his old team and they’re sort of grumpy at him, too?
Osweiler can’t let the Broncos’ defense get in his head. He needs to focus on getting the ball to all of his offensive weapons, moving down the field and converting in the red zone. Will Fuller is expected to return for Monday’s game, which should give the offense a significant boost. Osweiler also needs to get DeAndre Hopkins involved in the pass game early and often, and maybe most importantly, he needs to protect the football. Denver’s defense will be ready to capitalize on his mistakes, and they can’t be given that opportunity if Houston is going to come away with a win.
2. Houston’s defense could win this game for them. Benardrick McKinney has been exceptional, Whitney Mercilus has been a sack monster, Jadeveon Clowney has stayed on the field, the list continues. Even without the contributions of three-time DPOY J.J. Watt, Houston’s defense has been largely successful.
This Monday, the Texans will lean heavily on their defensive unit. They need to put the pressure on Broncos’ QB Trevor Siemian and keep it on him. If they can force the young QB to throw more and make a few mistakes, Osweiler and company will get a few more drives and a better chance to win this game.
3. The Texans’ secondary is hurting. Kevin Johnson broke his foot last week, safety K.J. Dillon tore his ACL, and Kareem Jackson missed last Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury (though he will play on Monday night, he likely isn’t back at 100 percent). The severely depleted secondary could be a big issue for the Texans if Denver can exploit these weak spots with their talented receivers.
Houston has a significant number of defensive injuries heading into this game, so they need everyone else to step up if they are going to be successful on MNF.
4. Lamar Miller has to get going. Last week, Miller finally broke free and ran all over the Colts’ defense. He was involved in the passing game as well as the run game and found the end zone twice. Denver’s run defense ranks 22nd overall, leaving plenty of room for Miller to take advantage of their weaknesses.
For Houston, Miller’s success will be key to getting points on the board. An effective run game will take the pressure off of Osweiler and give him more options in the offense, hopefully keeping him from frantic plays that end in mistakes.
What do you think, Houston fans? What are the keys to a Texans’ victory tomorrow night? You can use the comments section below to talk about the game, make predictions, and discuss all things Texans, Broncos and MNF.