Denver Seeking Quick Fixes While Keeping Big Picture Thoughts
More than one football player or coach has said “Winning is a great deodorant”, referring to a potential shortcoming a team might have that is overlooked because the victories keep piling up. Yet there are also those “ah ha” moments when something has been fixed or is figured out.
In the first half of the season, the Denver secondary was regularly picked part and while a concern, the Broncos were winning, the last line of defense was not completely healthy and they were stout against the run.
Fast forward to this week and Denver is still 28th in yards allowed passing and San Diego ran the ball down the throats of John Fox’s defense for 177 yards, keeping Peyton Manning on the sidelines for over 38 minutes in the upset of the Broncos.
NFL football handicappers like yours truly uncovered the Broncos defense has been shredded for 137.1 yards a contest the past six weeks. While this has numbers-wise improved the pass defense, this keeps the offense off the field, which is not playing to Denver’s strengths.
With the playoffs looming, Fox has to find solutions swiftly if he is really coaching a Super Bowl quality team.
Houston Saying All the Right Things Off the Field
In looking over Texans websites, different reports asked the Houston players about the losing streak and what they had to play for the last two contests.
The answers were modestly varied but seemed as earnest as those TV commercials for American Idol on Fox. Quotes included “I play to win” or “playing for pride” or “playing for my teammates”.
While anyone reviewing the daily NFL betting odds can tell you, the only thing the majority of Houston players is doing is showing up so they get paid.
Oh sure, they probably have good intentions to start, but once Houston falls behind, they have seen this movie before and have lost their will to fight.
The fact is the players know their head coach was fired, Wade Phillips is not going to be the next head coach and changes are coming. Take the money and run is what the Texans players are doing.
Don’t expect Houston to have as much “pride” as one might think.
NFL Betting Odds and Matchup Numbers
Sportsbooks posted Denver as a 9.5-point favorite and quicker than a Tony Romo late game interception, the Broncos were up to -10.5. Houston is a sorry 3-11 ATS this season.
The NFL odds on the total opened at 51 points and did not budge. Denver is 11-3 OVER this season and historically is 12-2 OVER after gaining less than 50 yards rushing.
What to Watch For
Look for Denver to want to reestablish the run after gaining only 18 yards against the Chargers. The additional benefit of running well is it takes the Texans desire to play away and at that point Manning can go to work in the passing game.
The Broncos defense has to be tougher at the point of attack and the linebackers either have to fill better or shed blocks quicker. A strong pass rush is required to limit exposure to the safeties.
Having lost an even dozen, every Houston player outside of J.J. Watt has to look themselves in the mirror and be accountable for their job. The defense needs to show pride and be better in every facet.
Quarterback Case Keenum is regressing and the Texans coaches might want to simplify the game plan and give him a chance to get in any sort of groove to help his team move the ball.
As I said in the SBR Forum Value Plays article, this could get ugly and Denver winning by less than 20 points would surprise me. We won't hesitate adding the Broncos to our NFL picks this week.
NFL Football Free Pick- Denver -10.5