NFL Week 3 odds: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
It’s quite possibly an AFC Championship Game preview on Sunday in the Mile High City as Houston, one of six 2-0 teams remaining and now the AFC odds-on favorite, visits Denver and old nemesis Peyton Manning, who has owned the Texans in his career.
Houston has looked dominant so far but has beaten two of the league’s worst teams in Miami and Jacksonville. In last week’s 27-7 win over the Jaguars, Arian Foster rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Ben Tate added a pair of scores on the ground. Foster, who became the all-time leader on the Texans’ rushing yardage list in the process, carried the ball 28 times and added six catches for 37 yards. Tate rushed for 74 yards on 12 carries and hauled in four passes for 23 yards. Matt Schaub connected on 26-of-35 passes for 195 yards.
Last week, the Texans were able to run the ball down the Jags’ throats at will. That resulted in 16 touches for Tate and 34 for Foster. “The rotation might be four-two (Foster to Tate carries) or three-three,” running backs coach Harris said. “Once we see how each player is playing, who’s hot and who’s not, we’ll adjust accordingly.” Houston is averaging only 3.6 yards per carry on the ground but 150 yards per game, which ranks sixth in the NFL. That shows that the Texans are committed to making the ground game work.
The Texans are first in the NFL in total defense (196.0 yards per game) and scoring defense (8.5 per game). They forced four turnovers in Ryan Tannehill’s debut in a 30-10 win over the Dolphins in Week 1 and allowed a franchise-low 117 yards in last Sunday’s victory.
The Broncos lost 27-21 on Monday night in Atlanta as Manning threw three interceptions in his first eight attempts, the fewest attempts Manning has needed to throw three picks in his career. Manning went 24-of-37 through the air for 241 yards and a touchdown. Willis McGahee carried the ball 22 times for 113 yards and two scores in the defeat. The Broncos recorded 336 yards of total offense, compared to 275 for Atlanta.
Since bringing in Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator, the Texans have brought heat like few other teams. Phillips has a ton of weapons to choose from when it comes to blitzing linebackers or even defensive backs. The chess match between Phillips and Manning will be key to the game as few quarterbacks are better than Manning when it comes to recognizing pressure and checking out of bad plays to counter the defense.
These teams haven’t met since late 2010 when Denver won 24-23.
WAGERWEB.COM ODDS: Texans -2 (46)
TEXANS NOTES: Are only team in NFL to start 2-0 in each of past 3 seasons … Head coach Gary Kubiak spent 9 seasons (1983-91) as player with Broncos & 11 years (1995-05) as asst. coach in Den … In past 6 on road, QB Matt Schaub has 10 TDs vs. 1 INT & 110.6 rating. Schaub (99) needs TD pass to reach 100 career. In only career start vs. Den., (12/26/10) Schaub completed 23 of 33 passes (69.7 pct.) for 310 yards with 1 TD vs. 1 INT & 96.8 passer rating … RB Arian Foster (3,286) surpassed Domanick Williams (3,195) for most career rush yards in franchise history last week. Had 91 rush yards with TD in only meeting vs. Den. Registered 17th 100-yard rush game of career last week (110). RB Ben Tate had career-best 2 rush TDs vs. Jax. … Since ’03, WR Andre Johnson averages NFL-best 79 receiving yards per game (9,796 yards in 124 games) … Defense allows NFL-low in pts. per game (8.5), yds. per game (196) & pass yards per game (124) … Club is tied for 2nd in AFC with 6 sacks … DE J.J. Watt has 1.5 sacks in each of past 2 games. DE Antonio Smith has 30.5 career sacks
BRONCOS NOTES: Club is 2-0 at home vs. Texans … For career, QB Peyton Manning has 16-2 record (.889) vs. Texans & has completed 452 of 642 passes (70.4 pct.) for 5,122 yards with 42 TDs (most vs. any opponent) vs. 8 INTs & 110.6 rating. Manning (63) needs 300-yard passing game to surpass HOFer Dan Marino (63) for most 300-yard passing games in NFL history … RB Willis McGahee averages 80.9 rush yards per game in 17 games w/ Den. (1,376 total). Posted 31st career 100-yard rushing game last week (113). Since ’04, ranks 4th in NFL with 61 rush TDs. Has rushed for 100+ yards in 2 of 3 career games vs. Hou. (117, 112) … WR Demaryius Thomas tied career-high with 8 catches last week. Aims for 3rd consecutive game with TD rec. WR Brandon Stokley has 5 career TD catches vs. Hou. … TE Joel Dreesen spent 5 seasons with Texans (2007-11) … Broncos are tied for 2nd in AFC with 6 sacks … Texas native LB Von Miller has 14.5 sacks in 17 career games … CB Champ Bailey has 50 career INTs, 3rd-most among active players (Ed Reed, 59; Charles Woodson, 55).
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Texans are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Texans are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU win of more than 14 points. Texans are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. Texans are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game. Texans are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a S.U. win. Broncos are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Broncos are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Broncos are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game.