Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At Denver Broncos

Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13: Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
  • Quarterback
    Brock Osweiler took a nice step forward in Week Six, as he led the Texans to a fourth quarter rally that allowed his team to tie the game, and he finished the comeback against the Colts with a win in overtime. Osweiler has been under pressure, and he must continue to produce as he prepares to play his previous employer in a tough situation on the road.
    The Broncos have gotten a surprising performance from quarterback Trevor Siemian to this point, but there are indications that the Broncos are starting to slow down. The Broncos have lost two games in a row – Siemian was in the lineup for just one of them – and their ability to make big plays at key moments appears to be somewhat limited.
  • Offense
    The addition of Lamar Miller in the offseason may be the best move that the Texans made this year. He is not only a talented running back, he also wants the ball and wants to win. The same could not be said about former Texans running back Arian Foster, who regularly missed games with injuries. DeAndre Hopkins is a big-play receiver while tight end C.J. Fedorowicz is a tough third-down weapon.
    The Broncos need their running game to be productive on a consistent basis because they want to take some of the pressure off of Siemian. C.J. Anderson has game-breaking speed and he also can break out of arm tackles. Wideout Demaryius Thomas has the size and speed to go deep and make plays over the top of the defense. Emmanuel Sanders (hip) is a fine No. 2 receiver.
  • Defense
    These are two of the most high-profile defenses in the league, although the Texans took a major blow when they loss All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt for the year after back surgery. The Texans have other stars on the roster, including Whitney Mercilus, Jadaveon Clowney and Vince Wilfork, and they should be capable of slowing down the Broncos.
    The Broncos won the Super Bowl last year because they had the best and most impactful defense in the league. Von Miller is the key to this unit, and he is an outstanding pass rusher with 7.5 sacks who is at his best in the most crucial points in the game. Linebacker Brandon Marshall and strong safety T.J. Ward lead the team with 34 tackles each, and both are big-time hitters.
  • Special Teams
    The Texans have struggled with their special-teams play for years, and head coach Bill O’Brien is not the leader to suddenly turn this situation around. They are quite vulnerable when it comes to punt and kickoff coverage, while Nick Novak is just an average placekicker.
    The Broncos are usually quite dependable when it comes to punt and kickoff coverage, and that should be a big advantage against the Texans. PK Brandon McManus has made 12-of-14 FG attempts, although both of his misses have come from 50 yards and beyond.
The Texans regularly fall apart when asked to play a top-level team on the road. There’s no reason think they turn it around here.