Brock Osweiler was instrumental in the Denver Broncos’ run to a Super Bowl championship, but he was still allowed to walk via free agency in the offseason despite an obvious need at quarterback. Osweiler returns to the Mile High City off his best performance of the season when the Houston Texans visit the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
Osweiler went 5-2 in place of an injured Peyton Manning last season, but Denver was unwilling to meet the asking price — a four-year, $72 million contract — to keep him. “Bottom line I’m going to treat this game no different than any other game,” Osweiler said. I’m going to go out and have a great week of practice and I’m going to understand the challenge ahead of us, but I’ll look forward to that challenge.” The move not to pursue Osweiler has looked brilliant as former seventh-round draft pick Trevor Siemian guided the Broncos to a 4-0 start. However, Siemian missed one game to injury and Denver’s has sputtered in back-to-back losses to Atlanta and San Diego, scoring a combined 29 points.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The spread for this Monday night grudge match hit the board with the Broncos pegged as 7.5-point home favorites and the line has not moved all week. The total opened at 40.5 and has also been stable as of Sunday night. View complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: Weather conditions for Sunday night in Denver are forecast to be mostly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-60’s at kickoff (dropping to low-50’s in the second half). There is only a 5 percent change of rain with virtually no wind to impact the game.
Texans – CB K. Jackson (Prob Mon, hamstring), QB B. Osweiler (Prob Mon, foot), WR D. Hopkins (Prob Mon, hamstring), CB J. Joseph (Prob Mon, forearm), WR W. Fuller (Prob Mon, hamstring), S L. Ballentine (Ques Mon, knee), TE S. Anderson (Ques Mon, hamstring), G J. Allen (Ques Mon, concussion), LB B. Peters (Ques Mon, quadricep), RB J. Grimes (Out Mon, leg), S Q. Demps (Out Mon, calf), CB K. Johnson (I-R, foot), LB B. Scarlett (I-R, hamstring), S K. Dillon (I-R, knee), DE D. Still (Elig Week 13, undisclosed), DE J. Watt (I-R, back), LB G. Rivers (I-R, undisclosed), LB T. Washington Jr. (I-R, undisclosed), S K. Drummond (I-R, leg), K K. Fairbairn (I-R, quadricep), C N. Martin (I-R, ankle).
Broncos – WR E. Sanders (Prob Mon, hip), S J. Simmons (Ques Mon, wrist), T R. Okung (Ques Mon, concussion), T D. Stephenson (Ques Mon, concussion), LB D. Ware (Out Mon, forearm), WR C. Latimer (Out Indefinitely, concussion), DE V. Walker (I-R, knee), C S. Brenner (I-R, concussion).
ABOUT THE TEXANS (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS, 3-3 O/U): Osweiler’s numbers were nondescript at best through much of the first six games, but he tossed a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:37 of regulation to spark a comeback in Houston’s 26-23 overtime win over Indianapolis last weekend. Running back Lamar Miller, also a marquee free-agent signing in the offseason, is coming off his best game by rushing for 149 yards and scoring his first two touchdowns — one on the ground and one receiving. Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a season-high nine receptions against the Colts, but his longest catch went for only 12 yards.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS, 3-3 O/U): Defense carried Denver to the Super Bowl title last season and it ranks No. 1 in yards against the pass (182.3) and in sacks (21), but the running game is struggling to get untracked. Lead back C.J. Anderson has failed to rush for 50 yards in four consecutive games and is starting to lose touches to rookie Devontae Booker. Siemian, who suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4 that caused him to miss one game, has not been picked off since Week 2 and has a pair of top wideouts in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, who have combined for 67 receptions and six touchdowns.
* Texans are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 Monday games.
* Broncos are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 Monday games.
* Over is 13-3 in Texans’ last 16 games in October.
* Under is 5-0 in Broncos’ last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
COVERS CONSENESUS: 55 percent of Covers picks are on the Broncos to cover as road favorites while 55 percent of totals wagers are on the Over.
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