ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– The Denver Broncos are looking for their second road win of the season against the Houston Texans. The Broncos will have to slow down Deshaun Watson who has thrown 23 touchdown passes to only seven interceptions. Here are the four matchups to watch for in Sunday’s bout.
Chris Harris Jr. vs DeAndre Hopkins
The top matchup to watch in the game will be on the outside the numbers as Chris Harris Jr. will look to shut down DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is highly targeted by Deshaun Watson as he leads the AFC with 86 receptions.
Last season, Hopkins had 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Texans 19-17 win over the Broncos.
Justin Simmons vs Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson plays his best football at NRG Stadium. He has a 109.1 passer rating at home which is the highest in the Super Bowl era.
One reason for the high passer rating is due to the weapons he has at his disposal. Aside from Hopkins, Watson has the speedy Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills at wide receiver. He’s also not afraid to attack down field, completing nine passes this season for 40 or more yards.
Justin Simmons leads Denver with three interceptions and will need to confuse Watson into several mistakes for the Broncos to pull off the upset.
Garett Bolles vs Whitney Mercilus
With J.J. Watt out for the game with a torn pectoral injury, Whitney Mercilus assumes the role as the Texans top pass rusher. He’ll line up against Garett Bolles who has been called for 12 holding penalties this year, according to NFL Penalties.com.
Bolles will also need to lead the charge in the Broncos running game. Houston gives up the 19th most rushing yards in the league at 111.1 yards per game.
Alexander Johnson vs Carlos Hyde
One of the biggest bright spots for the Broncos defense is Alexander Johnson’s breakout season. The second-year linebacker has the 70 tackles, which is tied for the second-most on the team.
He’ll be tasked with stopping the Texans top running back in Carlos Hyde. Hyde has rushed for 853 yards and four touchdowns this season. He’ll look for a better performance this week as he rushed for only 17 yards in last week’s win over the New England Patriots.