Annnnnddddd... we’re back!
Just when you though the longest-standing tradition started in the last few months almost missed a week! Have faith, true believer! The Masthead is ready to hand out balls like never before!
This week, the Texans’ balls are bouncing in Mile High, where the rarefied air has the Broncos’ defense talking all sorts of smack about Brock Osweiler, who in turn needs to do a better job of guarding his balls so they don’t get snatched by anyone on the Denver D.
Anyway, enough of the hyperbole. Let’s hand out some balls!
Luke Beggs (He is your father!)
Offense: C.J. Fiedorowizc: I don't think anyone of the offense is going to have a good day, but CJF is going to get his 5-7 targets, and he'll catch 4 or so to put up some decent yardage and maybe a TD.
Defense: Whitney Mercilus: Another sack and another day of misery for the offensive coordinator who still thinks a TE can successfully block Merc.
kdentify (-ing the remains after last night’s “Walking Dead”)
Offense: All hail Lamar Miller. Here's to hoping he can handle the work load he's going to have this week, We need him, desperately, to perform well.
Defense: No Merci. Whitney will benefit from Jadeveon Clowney getting increased attention. I hope.
Mike Bullock (better at kicking balls than Randy?)
Offense: Brock Osweiler. If anyone knows the holes in the Denver defense, it's Brock. The "I'll show you" spirit will rise up in him when he see Uncle Elway. That drives him to capitalize on he started against the Colts (just without as much success, since the Colts are terrible).
Defense: Whitney Mercilus. Everyone's going to be comparing Jadeveon Clowney and Von Miller all week, leading to too much attention for Clowney and not enough for Mercilus, who won't have mercy on Trevor Siemian.
BattleRedCoat (The British are coming and bringing their balls with them!)
Offense: Ryan Griffin takes some of whatever C.J. Fiedorowicz took over the offseason. Griffin comes up with a TD and 60 yards.
Defense: Jadeveon Clowney continues to be a beast, with a sack and two TFL.
Capt. Ron (sailing the high seas of rum and relaxation)
Offense: Duane Brown. It's easy to give out recognition to the so called "skill positions" who typically handle the ball and make the highlight reel, but if Houston is going to have success on offense against Denver's formidable defense, it will be due to this Pro Bowl left tackle successfully leading a rag-tag offensive line in the running game and protecting Brock in the passing game.
Defense: Vince Wilfork. I'm staying in the trenches with the awards, because this game will be won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Denver's offense has averaged just 78 yards rushing in their last two games, and they have a young quarterback who has struggled against Cover 2 (sound familiar?). They will try to get the running game going against a Houston defense that is ranked number two in the league at stopping the pass, but 29th against the run. Jadeveon Clowney and Benardrick McKinney will get the flashy tackles for a loss, but it will be big Vince anchoring the wall to limit the Broncos on the ground.
Chris (it’s just Chris, settle down!)
Offense: Lamar Miller. I don't anticipate the running game doing great things against Denver, but there's potential for a lot of checkdowns on Monday unless O'Brien feels like Miller's best value in obvious passing situations will be to block, or at the very least for Miller to throw a chip before he gets himself open. If Brock is still alive by then, I could see Miller pulling in 5-7 catches and hopefully breaking a couple.
Defense: Whitney Mercilus is almost my pick every week because without J.J. Watt because I just feel like he's the best player on this defense. Of all the Texans in the past that started horrible-to-shaky and ended up being solid to good (Derek Newton, Kareem Jackson, Whitney, A.J. Bouye, etc.), Whitney has become the best player of that bunch by far. If he can help the rest of the front seven rattle Trevor Siemian and mitigate the loss of Kevin Johnson, the Texans at least have a puncher's chance.
Tim (El Blognifico The Magnificent!)
Offense: C.J. Fiedorowicz. Remember how badly the Texans' defense used to struggle with matching up against pass-catching tight ends when Wade Phillips was the defensive coordinator here? Brock Osweiler needs to use the middle of the field anyway, but attacking with his TEs takes on heightened importance this week.
Defense: Benardrick McKinney. He's going to have to continue to shine as Gary Kubiak uses C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker to set up Denver's passing game.
TexansTakeaway (Fighting behind enemy lines on this one!)
Offense: Lamar Miller is the only one that I think will have a shot at being truly productive tonight. Broncos boast a top pass defense but a sub-par run defense. If Miller can't get going, things could get ugly quick for the Texans.
Defense: I'm going to say Mercilus this week too, though I think realistically this whole defense needs to play spectacularly for Houston to win in Denver. The defensive line needs to get to Trevor Siemian and Merci is the best bet.
That’s our best guess. Who do you think we’ll be raving about after tonight’s game is over?