With the Denver Broncos facing off against the Houston Texans, I go into enemy territory to chat with Toro Times ahead of the game on Sunday.
The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans will be meeting for the eighth time since Houston became an expansion team in 2002. As it stands before the meeting Sunday afternoon, Denver is holding on to a 4-3 series lead all time. The last time these two teams faced off, Brandon McManus unfortunately missed a game winning field goal to give Houston the win.
Both teams are in opposite directions for this meeting. Houston is coming off a huge win over the Patriots and sit at the top of the AFC South. Denver is currently 4-8 and hoping to see something to build off of in the final four games of the season.
Denver will look to pull the upset and make this a trap game. It could happen. But that is why the game is played. We will see what happens.
I decided to go into enemy territory and chat with Stephen Forsha from Toro Times, which is the Houston Texans FanSided site. Let us here what he has to say about Denver's opponent, the Texans.
PO: Houston is coming off a huge win over the New England Patriots. Would you say that was the biggest win of the season so far?
TT: I believe the Texans’ win over the Patriots was the biggest of the season because it was not only on the national stage, but it was a win against a team they’ve struggled against basically since the franchise joined the NFL.
The win on Sunday Night football was only the second time the Texans had defeated the Patriots in franchise history (10-2 overall against them all-time now), and in his third game against them, Deshaun Watson was able to gain the big win over Tom Brady, and not only that, but out-play him too.
For the Texans to gain a win against the then No. 1 team in the entire AFC, with only four games left in the regular season now, that could be the spark they have been needing for long-term success, but they have to avoid a letdown this week as well for that win to stay relevant.
PO: Houston is currently 8-4. Do you believe this team can make a deep run in the postseason this year?
TT: That is a tough question because some weeks the Texans really do look like they can be one of the best teams in the entire NFL, but go back a couple weeks ago when they faced the Baltimore Ravens, and that wasn’t the case at all.
The Texans have been an inconsistent 8-4 team this season, and with four games left on the schedule — including two against the much improved Tennessee Titans — and it still isn’t a lock they will even make the playoffs.
Houston really is one of those teams that has to take the old cliché “one game at a time,” because they can’t afford to look past the Broncos, or ahead to the playoffs. To answer the original question, the Texans have the players to make a run in the playoffs, but it will be a struggle, especially if they were to face Baltimore in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, because Houston has to prove they can win in the playoffs as well.
PO: Tell us about Deshaun Watson and what has made him so electrifying this season.
TT: Watson is becoming a complete quarterback. He can throw the football from the pocket with the best in the league, he can pass on the run, and he’s able to create plays with his athletic ability. Plus he’s become the bonafide leader of not only the offense, but the entire team.
What has made Watson so great this year is you get the feeling if the Texans are within striking distance of the opponent to take a lead (or to tie the score), if he has the football in his hands, there is an excellent chance he’ll be able to put the Texans in front on the scoreboard.
There isn’t a play Watson can’t make, and a lot of that has to do with the improvement of the offensive line this season. Sure, injuries have hurt the Texans at times this season — rookie Tytus Howard was just placed on the IR and that will make a big difference, but overall the offensive line is improved much more than how the played a season ago.
All of that, plus another year as a starting quarterback — while not recovering from an ACL injury this season — has really made Watson one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
PO: The Texans welcome the Denver Broncos on Sunday. What do you think of the Broncos as an opponent?
TT: Houston can’t overlook the Broncos, and one of my favorite players to watch in the entire NFL plays for the Broncos, and is only to improve is wide receiver Courtland Sutton. I really believe the Broncos have a real-deal wide receiver in Sutton. He’s tied for 12th in the league with 906 yards going into this game, and with the varying quarterbacks he’s had throw to him this season, what Sutton has accomplished in 2019 deserves some praise.
As a team, with the Broncos being 4-8 overall this season is tough for them, but it is evident this franchise is rebuilding some aspects of their roster. To be honest this is a game the Texans should win, but this is the NFL and nothing is a given, so the Texans better not take Denver lightly.
PO: Which player on the Texans is not getting a lot of recognition that could be an X-Factor on Sunday?
TT: A player everyone needs to watch on the Texans this Sunday is Houston nose tackle D.J. Reader. In ’19 he’s already exceeded his tackle total from a year ago with 42 combined tackles in ’19. Reader also has 2.5 sacks this season, which is also an improvement from the 16 games he played in last season.
In ’19 through 12 games Reader has not only the aforementioned 42 tackles, but 23 of those are solo, with the 2.5 sacks. Last season in 16 games, Reader had 33 total tackles (23 solo) with two sacks.
Reader is coming off a game where he made seven tackles against the Patriots (three solo). If Reader is able to cause some disruption in the interior line, allowing for the Texans to keep adding to their pass rush from a week ago, could allow his teammates to make the game uncomfortable and frustrating for the Denver offense.
Just keep an eye on Reader this Sunday because if he keeps up his current momentum, he’s going to be a tough player to stop in this Week 14 game.
Thank You Stephen for taking the time out to chat with me. If you want to see what Toro Times is talking about heading into this game, you can take a look here.