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Quick Hits: Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans Preview

A pair of 6-5 overachievers walk into a stadium...

NFL: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last spring, no one thought this game would have playoff implications for the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos. But it does. The Broncos are on their 1st 5-game win streak since 2015, a run that has them tied for the longest active win streak in the NFL. The Texans would also have a solid win streak going, but they lost last weekend to the Jacksonville Jaguars ... so there’s that. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Texans as 3.5-point favorites in this game.

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C.J. STROUD & TANK DELL CONTINUE HISTORIC ROOKIE CAMPAIGNS

Houston rookie quarterback C.J. STROUD ranks second in the league with 3,266 passing yards, the second-most ever by a player in his first 11 career games.

With 331 passing yards against Denver on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Stroud will surpass ANDREW LUCK (3,596 passing yards) for the second-most passing yards by a player in his first 12 career games in NFL history. Only PATRICK MAHOMES (3,912) has more.

Last week, Stroud recorded his fourth-consecutive and sixth overall game of the season with at least 300 passing yards. With another 300-yard game, he will surpass ANDREW LUCK (six games in 2012) for the second-most 300-yard games ever by a rookie. Only JUSTIN HERBERT (eight in 2020) has more.

Stroud, who will be 22 years and 61 days old on Sunday, can also become the youngest player in NFL history to record at least 300 passing yards in five consecutive games, surpassing PATRICK MAHOMES (23 years and 27 days old in 2018).

One of Stroud’s top targets this season has been fellow rookie TANK DELL, who ranks tied for the league lead among rookies with seven touchdown receptions and second with 709 receiving yards. Dell has recorded at least five receptions, 50 receiving yards and one touchdown reception in each of his past four games.

With another touchdown between Stroud and Dell, the two will become the fourth rookie quarterback-receiver pairing in NFL history to connect for at least eight touchdowns and the first since Cleveland’s TIM COUCH and KEVIN JOHNSON in 1999 (eight touchdowns).

Dell can also become the first rookie in NFL history to record at least five receptions, 50 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in five consecutive games and the first rookie ever to reach those marks in seven games overall.

Unfortunately for the 2 rooks, there’s this:

DENVER BRONCOS WEEK 13 STATS

QB RUSSELL WILSON totaled 168 yards (134 pass, 34 rush) & two TDs (one pass, one rush) vs. zero INTs with 91.9 rating last week, his fifth-straight game with zero INTs & 90+ rating, longest active streak in NFL. Is 4-0 with seven TDs vs. three INTs & 93.3 rating in four career starts vs. Houston. Ranks fifth in NFL with 103.4 rating this season. Needs TD pass to surpass HOFer Dan Marino (328) for second-most ever by QB in first 12 seasons.

RB JAVONTE WILLIAMS led team with 71 scrimmage yards (65 rush, six rec.) last week. Has 70+ scrimmage yards in four of past five. Rushed for 75 yards in last meeting.

RB SAMAJE PERINE rushed for 55 yards & first TD of season in Week 12. Aims for third in row with 65+ scrimmage yards. Had 136 scrimmage yards (95 rush, 41 rec.) and career-best two rush TDs in only career game vs. Houston (12/27/20 w/ Cincinnati Bengals).

WR COURTLAND SUTTON aims for fourth in row with 50+ rec. yards. Has TD catch in five of past six overall & in each of his four road games this season. Had seven catches for 122 yards in last meeting.

WR JERRY JEUDY has 50+ rec. yards in three of past five.

TE ADAM TRAUTMAN had second TD catch of season last week.

LB ALEX SINGLETON had 10 tackles, FR & PD in Week 12, his eighth game this season with 10+ tackles, tied-most in NFL. Has FR in two of past three. Had five tackles & two PD in last meeting.

LB JOSEY JEWELL had first sack & second FF of season last week. Has 5+ tackles in six of past seven. Had sack in last road meeting.

LB NIK BONITTO had 1.5 sacks & PD in Week 12.

S JUSTIN SIMMONS has five PD in his past four games. Has INT in each of two road games this season. Had three PD in last road meeting.

HOUSTON TEXANS WEEK 13 STATS

QB C.J. STROUD completed 26 of 36 atts. (72.2 pct.) for 304 yards & two TDs vs. zero INTs with 116 rating & had career-high 47 rush yards & rush TD last week, his fifth game with 300+ pass yards & 2+ TD passes, tied-most ever by rookie. Is first rookie in NFL history with 300+ pass yards in four straight games. Has 2+ TD passes in each of six home games. Ranks second in NFL with 3,266 pass yards in 2023, second-most ever by player in first 11 career games.

RB DEVIN SINGLETARY had season-high six catches for 54 rec. yards last week. Aims for fourth in row with 70+ scrimmage yards. Has rush TD in two of past three. Has 198 scrimmage yards (99 per game) & rush TD in two career games vs. Denver.

RB DAMEON PIERCE rushed for 69 yards in last meeting.

WR TANK DELL is third rookie in NFL history with 5+ catches & rec. TD in four straight games. Has TD catch in four of five home games, with 100+ rec. yards in two of past three at home. Ties for lead among rookies with seven rec. TDs & ranks second with 709 rec. yards.

WR NICO COLLINS led team with seven catches for 104 yards & TD last week. Aims for fourth in row with 50+ rec. yards & third in row with 7+ catches. Has rec. TD in two of past three games. Had 58 rec. yards in last meeting.

WR ROBERT WOODS aims for third in row with 40+ rec. yards.

TE DALTON SCHULTZ has TD catch in four of past five at home. Is one of four TEs with 5+ rec. TDs in each of past three seasons.

LB BLAKE CASHMAN aims for eighth in row with 5+ tackles. Has 10+ tackles & TFL in three of past four at home. Had TFL in last meeting.

LB CHRISTIAN HARRIS led team with 12 tackles & had TFL in Week 12. Aims for fifth in row with 5+ tackles & third in row with TFL.

CB DEREK STINGLEY aims for third in row with 5+ tackles, 2+ PD & INT. Had eight tackles & two PD in last meeting.

CB STEVEN NELSON had season-high two PD last week.

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