The Denver Broncos (0-1) are set to host the Houston Texans (0-0-1) in Week 2. Here’s our quick preview for the matchup.
Broncos’ keys to victory: Denver and Houston will likely have the same best-case-scenario game plans for this AFC showdown: Build a lead and control the clock. Broncos QB Russell Wilson is still making plays through the air in his 11th season, but Denver’s offense is highlighted by the dynamic RB duo of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. If Denver can jump out in front early and then turn to the ground game to milk the clock, the Texans would likely struggle to catch up given that they have an even more run-oriented offense. On defense, Broncos NT D.J. Jones will aim to clog up the middle, freeing up LBs Josey Jewell and Jonas Griffith to make plays against the run.
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Texans’ keys to victory: Houston’s defense can’t afford to put the Texans in a hole early. Second-year QB Davis Mills posted serviceable numbers against the Colts last week (23-of-37 for 240 yards with 2 TDs), but Houston doesn’t want to rely on him to win games. Instead, the Texans seemingly want to run their offense through RBs Rex Burkhead and Dameon Pierce. On defense, Houston will aim to slow down a Denver offense that’s full of weapons — the Texans won’t want to get into a shootout.
Matchup to watch: Texans LT Laremy Tunsil vs. Broncos OLB Randy Gregory. Before missing most of last season with a thumb injury, Tunsil allowed one sack in 14 games in 2020. Tunsil, a two-time Pro Bowler, is now healthy again and he’ll be going up against Gregory, who received a five-year, $70 million contract from Denver this offseason after he totaled 52 QB hits in 50 games with the Cowboys from 2015-2021.
Who wins? The Broncos will be motivated to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss last week that featured a pair of goal-line fumbles in Seattle. Houston won’t present Wilson and Co. with the same kind of emotional test as the Seahawks did in Week 1. Broncos 27, Texans 20.
This post originally appeared in Sports Weekly.
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