Arian Foster of the Houston Texans runs for a touchdown during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 16, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The Broncos will be hosting the Houston Texans this Sunday Afternoon. The Texans have a solid offense. Leading the way is star running back Arian Foster. Foster has totaled 189 yards in 2 games, and added 3 touchdowns. At Receiver, the Texans have one of, if not the best WR in league in Andre Johnson. Johnson has caught 11 balls for 140 yards, and added a touchdown. At Tight End, the Texans have Owen Daniels who has as also caught 11 balls for 134 yards. Manning the QB position is Matt Schaub. Schaub is off to a great start totaling 461 yards on 46-66 passing(69.7%). However he's only passed for 1 touchdown.
Now lets take a look at the starters for the Houston Texans offense...
QB: Matt Schaub
RB: Arian Foster, Ben Tate
John James Casey
WR: Andre Johnson and Kevin Walters
TE: Owen Daniels
Schaub is a good QB, but i wouldnt say he's as good as Matt Ryan or Big Ben. He does have good numbers this year, but has gone against the Jags and Dolphins. He doesn't make too many mistakes though. The Broncos will need to pressure him and force him into a few mistakes. The secondary will need to play well again this week.
Wow what a difference a week makes. Last week everyone was excited about Peyton, now we have our doubts. I'm not too worried personally. Manning did throw three horrible passes, but he did settle down and almost brought the Broncos back. Overall Manning has put up solid numbers outside of that dreadful first quarter. Manning has thrown for 494 yards and has a 68.3 completion percentage. So overall, he's been pretty good. He does face a very tough test against a very good Texans defense. Manning faired well against the Steelers tough D, so we'll see.
The Running Backs:
Houston probably has the best RB duo in the league in Foster and Tate. Both will be tough to stop. They have totaled 299 yards in 2 games so far. Another facet in Fosters game is his receiving skills. Foster has 7 catches for 33 yards. . The Texans want to pound the rock and control the clock, much like the Steelers tried to do. The Texans have controlled the ball for 39 minutes in 2 games, while their opponent has only had the ball for 21 minutes. So the Broncos front seven will see a healthy dose of Foster and Tate. Will be interesting to see how they do.
Willis McGahee went off last week, and had a great game against the Falcons run D, but the Texans are a much tougher run defense. The Texans have only allowed 144 yards rushing in their 2 games. So i expect a decent day from Willis. a 60-80 yard game would be a successful day for him. The main question is, will anyone help him out? Knowshon Moreno had a costly fumble last week, and was dreadful as a runner. Lance Ball hasn't seen much work yet, and rookie Ronnie Hillmanhas been inactive. I'd like to see Hillman active, but i think Houston wouldnt be the best team to activate a rookie who has issues in pass protection. We need one of those 3 to step up and help Willis out.
The Texans have Andre Johnson, he's a top 5 WR in the league, though outside of him, the Texans lack weapons at WR. Johnson has 11 catches, but after him is Walters with 5. After Walters, they have rookie WR Keshawn Martin, and second year wideout Lester Jean. Both are talented, but raw. The Texans will have to challenge future Hall Of Famer Champ Bailey if they want to get the ball to Johnson on a regular basis.
Demaryius Thomas has become Peyton Mannings favorite target. Thomas has 13 receptions for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. DT may have a hard time getting open sunday. Over his last nine games (including playoffs), Demaryius Thomas has 48 catches for 933 yards and six touchdowns. Opposite of him is Eric Decker. Decker has been solid also this season. Decker has 9 receptions for 103 yards so far this season. I have a feeling Decker is in for a big game sunday.Brandon Stokley has been solid in the slot. I have been impressed with Stokely. Has been reliable in the slot, and there when Manning needs a first down.
The Broncos have faced two very good tight ends the last 2 weeks in Tony Gonzales and Heath Miller. This week, they don't face an as elite TE, but still a very solid one in Owen Daniels. Daniels has emerged as one of Schaubs favorite targets. Daniels is tied with Andre Johnson with 11 catches, which is best among the team. The Texans love to use the bootleg, so i wouldn't be surprised if they targeted Daniels a few times on designed bootlegs. The Broncos do struggle against the tight end, so it will be interesting to see if they will be able to contain Daniels this weekend.
Jacob Tamme has hauled in 7 passes for 56 yards and a TD. The Broncos really went away from Tamme against the Falcons. I expect them to use him in the passing game again this week. Joel Dresseen has been solid in the run game, and has caught 3 passes for 22 yards. I'd like to see them target both of them more in the middle of the field in the coming weeks. I expect them both to continue doing what they have been doing all year. Tamme being a nice security blanket for Manning, and Dreessen to be a solid run blocker.
The texans OL has been solid this year. QB Matt Schaub has been only sacked two times, and they have been a solid run blocking unit. LT Duane Brown is turning into one of the better LT's in the game. Ex Bronco Chris Myers(why didn't you resign him Shanny?) is one of the best in league manning the center position. RT Derek Newton replaces Eric Winston, and Smith and Caldwell are both decent guards. The Broncos front 7 will have their hands full sunday.
The Broncos OL has been up and down throughout the season. They have given up 5 sacks, a solid 212 yards rushing on the ground. They're still without RG Chris Kuper, but replacement Manny Ramirez has looked decent in two games. Manny was pushed around alot against the Falcons, but did hold his own against the Texans. So we'll see which one shows up this week. Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin both have tough tests this week against the Texans pass rush. Both have played fairly well this year, and did well against the Steelers and Falcons pass rush, so we'll see how they do Sunday.