Everything you need to know about the Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans Week 2 – Mile High Sports

The Denver Broncos need a win.
They host the Houston Texans during Week 2 of NFL action this Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High.
We explore the many questions surrounding the game. What areas can the Broncos exploit against the Texans? Who are the key players Denver has to account for? What are the key matchups to take advantage of? And most importantly, how can the Broncos leave their home stadium with a win?
When the orange and blue take the field on Sunday against the Texans, these are some of the areas they should take advantage of on offense and defense.
Offense
Despite the loss on Monday Night to the Seahawks, the Broncos offense has everything they need to take the next step forward.
The biggest key: Avoid self-inflicted mistakes.
Against Seattle, the Broncos mustered over 433 yards of total offense which ranked them 4th in the NFL in yards so far in 2022.
Denver is also 4th in the NFL in yards per play coming in at 6.8, and they¬†enter Sunday’s game ranked 6th in the NFL in time of possession at 33:39.
Where Denver has to be better on Sunday is in the red zone.
The Broncos were 0-4 in Monday’s loss in the red zone due to penalties and turnovers.
Both Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams fumbled on the one-yard line, each resulting in Seattle gaining possession and Denver leaving points on the field.
Ball security will be critical on Sunday against the Texans who had two takeaways against the Colts in Week 1 including a recovered fumble.
Defense
The Broncos’ defense endured an efficient first quarter by the Seahawks and Monday but pitched a shutout in the second half.
Denver must maintain and build off of what they were able to accomplish in the second half against Seattle.
Coming into this matchup, the Broncos’ defense ranks 4th in the NFL in net yards per game, allowing 253 total yards in Week 1.
The Broncos defense also ranks 8th in points allowed (17) tied for 8th in net rushing yards allowed (76) and 6th in net passing yards allowed (177).
While those are great rankings, the Broncos’ defense allowed the Seahawks to gain seven first downs due to penalties alone, which was far too many. This is one critical area they’ll have to be better with on Sunday.
Third down was an issue for Denver who allowed a few big plays in the first half combined with penalties that have them ranked after Week 1, 27th in the NFL allowing 3rd down conversions at a rate of 54.6%.
For the Broncos to gather their first win of the season on Sunday, these Texans players are names that Denver must account for when they play on Sunday.
Derek Stingley Jr.
The Texans first-round rookie draft pick out of LSU possesses a lot of talent that they hope can slow down Russell Wilson and the Broncos passing attack featuring Jerry Jeudy.
In his Week 1 debut against the Colts, Stingley Jr. had seven tackles and a key pass breakup in the Texans tie.
He’ll likely spend time covering both Courtland Sutton and Jeudy on Sunday.
Jerry Hughes
Texans defensive end Jerry Hughes poses a significant threat to the Broncos offense on Sunday.
At 6’2″ and 254 pounds, Hughes came away with an impressive performance against the Colts in Week 1. Off of the edge, Hughes had two sacks, three tackles, one pass batted down, and one interception.
The 13-year pro also had four quarterback pressures against Matt Ryan.
Denver’s offensive line will need to carry over the communication and protection that they had against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 into their Week 2 matchup.
Kamu Grugier-Hill
The Texans linebacker is one of their most aggressive run defenders that pose a risk to interrupting the Broncos offensive game plan.
In Week 1, Grugier-Hill accounted for a Week 1 NFL-high 18 tackles against the Colts in their efforts to slow down Jonathan Taylor. He plays at a high level of speed and is one of the Texans more disciplined defensive players under Lovie Smith.
Brandin Cooks and OJ Howard
The Broncos secondary will be without Justin Simmons this week after he was placed on Injured Reserve.
Caden Sterns will start in place of Simmons on Sunday.
Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks and tight end OJ Howard pose the biggest threat to the Broncos’ defense in the passing game this week.
Cooks possesses the breakaway speed that could impact the rhythm of the game. In Week 1 against the Colts, Cooks had seven catches on 12 targets for 82 yards total. One of those catches was downfield for 42 yards.
Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain will likely be tasked with covering Cooks on Sunday.
On the other hand, Howard will be a player to watch out against as well. In Sunday’s tie with the Colts, Howard had two catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos defense, who has been haunted by mistakes covering tight ends for years, surrendered two touchdowns to tight ends against the Seahawks in their Week 1 loss.
Communication will be key for Denver defensively to avoid breakdowns in coverage versus tight ends.
Earlier, the Broncos red zone woes from Week 1 were a concern that is correctable.
One thing Broncos fans have been calling for this week is more under-center looks for Russell Wilson and the Denver offense when they get into the red zone.
A lot will be predicated on what the Broncos want to run offensively, whether that be against the run or the pass.
Aligning in the shotgun allows Wilson to read the defense more tightly and gives them the flexibility to hand the ball off if they see a wide gap on the defensive line or to pass the ball if they see an open area of coverage.
Running under center gives the Broncos the flexibility to run play action in the goal-line as well.
The Broncos will host the Texans at 2:25 p.m. MT at Empower Field at Mile High this Sunday.

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