Texans at Broncos? NFL bloggers debate who will cover Monday night

 

If you’re still on the fence about who to back in this primetime matchup we’ve enlisted the help of expert NFL bloggers Stephanie Stradley, a Texans blogger for the Houston Chronicle, and Kaptain Kirk, of Denver blog Bronco Planet. They strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread Monday night.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL COVER

Stephanie Stradley is a Texans blogger for the Houston Chronicle. You can follow her on Twitter @StephStradley.

Familiarity with Denver’s system

The Texans personnel knows the Denver offensive and defensive scheme very well, and one of the reasons teams struggle against the Broncos offense is that they aren’t familiar with how to defense their version of the zone blocking well. The scheme tends to do better when teams are caught off balance by how it functions.

Good defensive teams tend to cover larger spreads

When teams are fairly evenly matched with their strengths, it makes outcomes less certain. Both teams expect their defenses to keep them into games, and depend on their running game to protect their inexperienced quarterbacks. Winning by defense makes justifying a big number difficult because the modern rules tend to favor offense and referees call games inconsistently for defenses.

Strength of schedule sometimes more telling than win/loss record

The Denver schedule to date has not been that difficult, ranked 27th per Football Outsiders rankings. Though the Texans have struggled to their 4-2 record with a transitioning and inconsistent offense that features young but dynamic skill positions, they did so against the 5th hardest schedule in the league. Early schedule strength can both hide and expose issues and make teams look better and worse than they are.

WHY THE BRONCOS WILL COVER

Kaptain Kirk is a contributor for Denver blog Bronco Planet. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @Kaptain_Kirk62.

Back on track

The Denver Broncos are looking to avoid their first 3-game losing streak in 5 years. Since the start of the 2012 season, they have lost back-to-back games just four times, bouncing back with a win in each of the previous three instances by outscoring their opponent, 74-38. Denver has a 30-37-1 all-time record on Monday Night Football, including a 22-11-1 record at home.

An oversensitive QB

The big story for this game is former Bronco and current Texan QB Brock Osweiler’s return to Mile High after having his feelings hurt in 2015. Osweiler has had success in big games, with victories over the Patriots and Bengals in key moments during a Super Bowl season. However, he doesn’t consider this a big game. Brock may have learned under Peyton Manning, but he is still a game manager at best at this point in his career. At present, he has a 59% completion rate and has thrown as many Touchdowns (8) as Interceptions. History has shown that he can be flustered into making bad decisions. The Broncos lead the League in sacks (21) and QB hits (57) through six games.

No fly zone

Denver has won an NFL-best 26 consecutive games when winning the turnover battle. They also have the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked cornerbacks in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Opposing Quarterbacks have a 29.6 passer rating when targeting Talib, who has five interceptions returned for touchdowns in his 3rd season with the Broncos.

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