When studying the Denver Broncos this week in preparation for the Monday Night Football matchup in the Mile High City, I was struck by how similar the two teams' offensive units are.
First year starters at quarterbacks.
Pro Bowl receivers.
Blazing speed at receiver.
Adequate running game.
The numbers sort of bear that out.
The Broncos average 98.5 yards per game on the ground, 19th in the NFL, while the Texans average 111.2 yards per contest, which ranks them 10th in the league. The Broncos average 224.8 ypg through the air, 27th in the league, while the Texans average 216.5 ypg. The difference in total offense is a mere four yards per game. The Texans have given up the ball 10 times, while Denver has turned it over eight times.
There's also one other common thread amongst these two offenses. There are only two offenses in the AFC that don't have a veteran of 10 years or more.
Every other team in the AFC has at least one grizzled double-digit year veteran on the team, while the Texans and Broncos don't have one. Duane Brown, in his ninth year, is the senior member of the Texans' offense, while the Broncos don't have a starter with a tenure longer than seven years or more on that offensive unit. Not surprisingly, those three are arguably the best players on that side of the ball for the Broncos - left tackle Russell Okung and wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
There are only four offenses in the entire league that don't have a veteran with double digit experience. Los Angeles and Seattle are the other two in the NFL without one.
It's one thing to not have a ton of experienced veterans on offense, but no starter on either side of the ball has been in his respective system for longer than three years. This is the second year of the Gary Kubiak era in Denver and the third year for the Bill O'Brien regime in Houston.
Teams have won and won big without having a ton of experience on the offensive side of the ball. The 2013 Seahawks come to mind. They had one starter over the age of 28. However, that's been far the norm in this league. In fact, the 2013 Seahawks are the only team in the past decade to win a championship without a 10-year veteran offensive player.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)