The Houston Texans will travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High where they’ll meet the Denver Broncos this Saturday. The Texans have been on both sides of a blowout throughout their first two preseason games. They’ll have a difficult task here, trying to slow down the league’s most prolific offense. Here are five things to watch for.
1. The Texans secondary
After a joint practice on Tuesday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning claimed that the Texans defense “Kicked our butt. They executed better than we did.”
It will be worth watching to see if Manning is right or not. For what it’s worth, Manning did have 397 passing yards on 32 completions and four touchdowns when these two teams met last year. Now we need to see if the Texans secondary is actually prepared to slow down Denver, or if Manning’s words were too generous.
2. Texans pass rush
The Texans are going up against arguably the top offensive line in the league. Manning was only sacked 20 times last year, and that was without Ryan Clady for most of the season. Denver’s offensive line should be even better, but can the Texans handle it? With J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney as pass-rushers, it will be fun to see who wins this matchup.
3. Texans receivers vs. Broncos cornerbacks
The Broncos had one of the league’s worst passing defenses last season, so they signed corner Aqib Talib to help out Chris Harris in the passing game while also drafting Bradley Roby.
Their secondary now looks stacked on paper, but will they be able to win battles against the likes of Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins? Sure, we probably won’t see any of these guys play for more than a quarter, but these individual matchups are surely going to be fun to watch.
4. Texans quarterbacks vs. Broncos defense
There is no doubt that the Texans will be playing multiple quarterbacks in this one. It’s also bound to be exciting to see what will happen when Ryan Fitzpatrick goes up against the Broncos defense. With one of the best pass-rushes in the league, and a now-stacked secondary, this is a great challenge for the Texans quarterbacks.
Can the Texans quarterbacks beat this dangerous looking secondary often, or will Denver dominate this one, or will it be a wash? This is a key matchup to watch for.
5. Texans overall play
The Texans are a tough team to figure out right now. After being dismantled by the Arizona Cardinals, only to wipe out the Atlanta Falcons, where does this team stand? They have to play arguably the most complete and dangerous team in the NFL, so it should give us a good idea where they are at right now.
Are they the 2-14 type team we saw last year? The double-digit winning team during 2011 and 2012, or a mediocre team? It will help us guess once they finish playing the Broncos.