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Know Your Foe: Denver Broncos | Week 13

231130-know-your-foe

Since 2013, the Texans have struggled beating the Denver Broncos. They've met five times (2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2022) and the Texans won just once (2018).

Since 2013, the Texans have struggled beating QB Russell Wilson. They've faced Wilson four times (2013, 2017, 2021 and 2022) and have never beaten him.

Since week seven of the 2023 season, the Broncos have not struggled at all, winning five in a row.

Ugh. That's not great news for the good guys.

Consequently, there are a ton of streaks on the line this weekend and most of them are in favor of the Sean Payton-led Denver Broncos. The Texans, on the other hand, are on a one game losing streak after losing a 24-21 nailbiter to the 8-3 Jacksonville Jaguars. I don't think there are many who thought these two teams would be 6-5 at this point in the season, but that's where they are. The two teams are right in the middle of a glut of six win teams in the AFC. Suffice to say, there's even more on the line Sunday when the Broncos walk into NRG Stadium

When the Dolphins beat the Broncos 70-20 in week three, it looked as if the Broncos were on the way to one of their worst seasons in recent memory. But, since then, the Broncos are 6-2, including five in a row, as noted above. Their success, combined with the Texans' similar run, forced the TV powers that be to move this game to a noon kickoff to showcase this game for the nation. One week after last week's emotional divisional matchup, it's another massively important game for the 2023 Texans at NRG Stadium.

As such, let's get to Know the Texans' Week 13 Foe  - the Denver Broncos

2023 Schedule (6-5)

Week 1 - L Las Vegas Raiders 17-16

Week 2 - L @ Washington Commanders 35-33

Week 3 - L @ Miami Dolphins 70-20

Week 4 - W @ Chicago Bears 31-28

Week 5 - L New York Jets 31-21

Week 6 - L @ Kansas City Chiefs 19-8

Week 7 - W Green Bay Packers 19-17

Week 8 - W Kansas City Chiefs 24-9

Week 9 - BYE

Week 10 - W @ Buffalo Bills 24-22

Week 11 - W Minnesota Vikings 21-20

Week 12 - W Cleveland Browns 29-12

Week 13 - @ Houston Texans

Week 14 - @ Los Angeles Chargers

Week 15 - @ Detroit Lions

Week 16 - New England Patriots

Week 17 - Los Angeles Chargers

Week 18 - @ Las Vegas Raiders

Broncos OFFENSE (in 2023 regular season)

Rushing Yards Per game - 115.5 ypg (12th in the NFL)

Passing Yards Per game - 185.0 ypg (25th)

Total offense per game - 300.5 ypg (23rd)

Turnovers lost - 14 (4 INT, 10 Fumbles lost)

Expected Broncos starting offense for Week 13

QB - Russell Wilson

RB - Javonte Williams

WR - Courtland Sutton

WR - Jerry Jeudy

WR - MARVIN MIMS JR

TE - ADAM TRAUTMAN

LT - Garett Bolles

LG - Ben Powers

C - Lloyd Cushenberry

RG - Quinn Meinerz

RT - MIKE McGLINCHEY

Other Key Offensive pieces

FB - MICHAEL BURTON

WR - LIL'JORDAN HUMPHREY

RB - SAMAJE PERINE

RB - JALEEL McLAUGHLIN

Italics - Rookie

ALL CAPS - New to team in 2023

Keys to winning v. the Broncos Offense

  1. Mr. Unlimited- Heading into the 2022 season, the NFL world was smitten with Russell Wilson's move to the Denver Broncos. I wasn't totally sure how the experiment would go and it proved to be a near disastrous move for the Broncos as Wilson struggled in EVERY aspect of playing the position last year, including big time struggles against the Texans in week two of that season. Even with former Saints head coach Sean Payton taking over as head coach in Denver, there weren't many that saw a turnaround happening for Wilson in 2023. But, he got in GREAT shape, he began showing signs of life in Payton's offense and now 11 games into the 2023 season, he's a MAJOR reason why the Broncos have a playoff pulse. Wilson is tied for fifth in the league in passing TD/game (1.82/game - 20 overall). Just this year, alone, he has four fourth quarter comebacks; in those games, he has seven TD and zero INT. He's not just back, he's the REAL Mr. Unlimited in 2023 in Denver.
  1. The Bolles School- When Garett Bolles was drafted to the Denver Broncos, it was clear that he was one of the best athletes at the position. He was also raw as sushi. Each and every year, though, he got better and better, quit holding, stopped committing penalties and became one of the best left tackles in the business. Why is he a key? Well, the Texans pass rush struggled last week getting to Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence. Now, a great deal of that was due to the Jaguars quick passing game which allowed Lawrence to get the ball out in two seconds or less. Other times, though, the Jaguars edge protectors just bottled up the Texans edge rushers. Bolles is better than anyone the Texans saw last week, so the Texans must find different ways to win against Bolles and company or Wilson will have his pick of where to throw the ball…and that's not good this year.
  1. Sutton's Place- One place where Wilson did throw the ball in 2022 against the Texans was Sutton's Place, as in Broncos stud WR Courtland Sutton. The 6-4, 216 lb. Texan was targeted ten times and came down with seven magnificent grabs for 122 yards. He was the only player on the field that day to provide a less than offensive, offensive performance. With Wilson targeting him over six times a game in 2023, Sutton is on pace to surpass his season-high in receptions and he's already surpassed his TD total in 11 games with eight. He's a major height/weight/speed problem and the Texans secondary must anticipate that the Broncos will target Sutton until the Texans do something significant to slow him down.

The Houston Texans held practice on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 in preparation for the Week 13 matchup against the Denver Broncos