The Denver Broncos (4-8) begin a brutal two-game road stretch starting with the Houston Texans (8-4). The Texans are fresh off a dismantling of the New England Patriots last week, so obviously that is one everyone’s mind here this week.
Drew Lock got his first start and first win as he guided the Broncos to a 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers last week, but this road contest will be a huge test for the rookie. A test most of us expect him to pass, but with a team loss.
Collectively, we see a Texans 28-23 win over the Broncos this week. Although one of us does think Denver will pull out a surprise upset on the road.
Here is how we see things happening individually.
Texans 23, Broncos 20
Despite the beat down the Texans put on the Patriots last week, I think they overlook the Broncos a bit in this game. Drew Lock is still a rookie and is going to have some growing pains, but in this game he’ll lead a late comeback that makes the score closer. However, being on the road against such a talented team is a game these 2019 Broncos tend to lose. If it ends up a three-point loss, then we should all feel a bit more encouraged than at various other times this season. I’m okay with that. - Tim Lynch
Broncos 27, Texans 24
Upset Alert. Trap game for Texans as they look past the Broncos.
Fangio’s Defense will have to make Watson uncomfortable. He can throw from the pocket and scrambling, but the interior defensive line: Shelby Harris, Mike Purcell must get A and B gap pressures. DB’s must look alive and adapt to Watson extending plays. Hell, blitz those safeties! KJack homecoming.
Offense will attack Roby. He’s coming off a good game last week and Injury but his coverage is still a liability. When HOU stacks the box, look for deep shots or Lindsay on the edge. - Luke Patterson
Texans 38, Broncos 21
Broncos Country gets the best of both worlds this week. We get to see Drew Lock and the young offense continue to grow, and our defense grow and be challenged by one of the top offenses in the league, but we also get to maintain our draft status!
The Broncos will get to use this as a bit of a measuring stick for how far they still need to come to beat a playoff level team. This will get out of hand in the second half and the final score will make the game look worse than it is. Calls for people to be fired will be heard, as they are after every loss it seems, but this is actually a fun 4-game stretch by this team as they get to test their mettle against top competition and the games outcomes don’t actually matter. - Jeff Essary
Texans 34, Broncos 27
The loss of Derek Wolfe & potentially missing Von for a 2nd game in a row, in addition to our issues at cornerback, is a recipe for major problems- especially against an excellent, mobile young quarterback like Deshaun Watson. That’s a whole other level of challenge compared to throttling the washed-up ghost of Philip Rivers. The Broncos do make a good show of it, though. Scang gets good opportunities to lean on the run game against a porous Texans run defense, which sets Lock up for success in turn. The question is whether or not it will be enough.
Last week I was right on target with my prediction that my winning team prediction would be wrong, so I see no reason not to keep a good thing going. Texans take the win, 34 to 27. - Taylor Kothe
Texans 27, Broncos 20
As we discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast, the Texans are a good team coming off an impressive win over the Patriots. They are playing for playoff positioning. The Broncos are playing for 2020 at this point. They are starting Drew Lock for the second week, meaning the Texans will have tape on him. The offense is going to struggle against the Texans defense.
The loss of Derek Wolfe will impact the defensive line play, but it will give Denver a chance to start evaluating players like DeMarcus Walker and Dremont Jones. This is no longer about wins and losses, which means the Broncos are pretty likely to lose. - Adam Malnati
Texans 23, Broncos 20
Since the Texans are coming off a big win, as I said to Adam, it’s human nature to have a let down; especially against a team like Denver that’s 4-8 and has a rookie quarterback making his second-career start.
The Broncos coaching staff needs to give more leash to Lock. Do what they did in the first quarter against the Chargers in the other three quarters on Sunday in Houston. Do what Denver did in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings for both halves against the Texans. Lock builds on his first game and helps to make this closer than some expect. - Ian St. Clair