Deshaun Watson vs. Denver Broncos Front Four
Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell may not need to concoct an extremely complex gameplan to beat the elusive Watson on Sunday, as crazy as that may sound. In fact, the keys to a Denver Broncos victory may be more simple than one would think.
The Broncos’ defensive gameplan they will likely need to incorporate? Keep Watson in the pocket, and make him uncomfortable. This has the potential to be a big challenge, with Von Miller questionable and Derek Wolfe being placed on IR earlier this week. However, if the defense can stand stout and force the ball out of Watson’s hands, a Broncos victory may not be so out of the question.
Broncos’ Offensive Line vs. Texans Pass Rush
The winner of this game may come down to whose offensive line has a better performance on Sunday, and how well the Broncos’ offensive unit plays will rely heavily on the offensive line this week.
The Texans’ pass rush is currently ranked 27th in the league in sacks, which may prove to be beneficial to the Broncos. However, this would be a bad week for the Texans’ pass rush to find their footing. While it is important to note that the Texans are without their star pass rusher in JJ Watt for the remainder of the season, the Texans still have guys that can get to the QB, especially in monster pass rusher Whitney Mercilus.
Guys like Mercilus can change the tone of a game in seconds, and although the unit is struggling, this is not an assignment the Broncos’ OL can take lightly.
Alexander Johnson, LB, Broncos
Broncos Country has quickly fallen in love with young LB Alexander “The Dino” Johnson and looks to be a team staple going forward. The Denver Broncos have truly found a diamond in the rough in the young linebacker, and he may be the difference-maker on Sunday.
When guys like Wolfe and possibly Miller may be down, it is up to guys like Johnson to step up and make plays, and Johnson has done just that throughout the season. He has really made an impression on his teammates and coaches thus far, and it feels as if many times on the season when a defensive play has been needed, all that is needed is to flash the “Dino” signal, and he answers the call.
Look for Johnson to be the culprit of at least a few key defensive stops on Sunday.
Duke Johnson, RB, Texans
Hypothetically speaking, if the Denver Broncos are able to pull Deshaun Watson into a danger zone and keep him contained, he will look to hand the ball off and the Texans will look to establish their ground game.
While the Broncos’ run defense struggled against Devin Singletary and Frank Gore, beyond the Leonard Fournette disaster, the Broncos’ rush defense has improved vastly from the early season to now. In fact, the Broncos as a defensive unit are fifth in defensive efficiency.
However, Texans RB Duke Johnson can be a difficult matchup for defenses with his 5’9″ and 210-pound frame. Johnson is a power-back that the Texans also like to utilize as a receiving threat. Watson may try to attempt check-down throws to Johnson throughout the game, and then leave it to Johnson to see what he can make out of it.
Johnson capped 90 rush yards and close to 40 receiving yards against New England, and may be preparing a similar game plan for Johnson against the Broncos.