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Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans 8/23/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction

Houston Texans (1-1 preseason) at Denver Broncos (2-0 preseason)
Date & Time Saturday August 23, 2014, 9:00 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Denver Broncos -7 -- Over/Under: 46
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NFL | Houston Texans (1-1 preseason) at Denver Broncos (2-0 preseason)

The Denver Broncos host the Houston Texans in week three of the NFL Preseason.

The Houston Texans might be the biggest rebuilding project of the 2014 NFL season after a dismal 2013 campaign that saw them start 2-0 and sustain a 14 game losing streak to close the year.   Week one was a continuation of 2013 as the Texans were shutout in Arizona 32-0, but in week two the Texans took a small step towards respectability defeating the Falcons 32-7.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has the starting job at QB in Houston and followed up a dreadful opener against a stout Cardinals defense with an impressive performance in week two against a suspect Falcons defense.  Fitzpatrick completed 9/12 passes for 97 yards and a TD last week as backup QB Case Keenum completed just 50% of his passes and threw an interception.

The Texans offense is stocked with two heavy weapons in Andre Johnson at WR and Arian Foster at RB; neither has seen action thus far but it seems likely both will take the field this weekend for the dress rehearsal game.  On defense the Texans have marquee players in the front seven in sack specialist JJ Watt and newcomer Jadaveon Clowney, but the secondary is probably going to face the biggest challenge this week against Manning.  The Texans secondary actually managed to rank 3rd in the league last season in passing yards allowed, but that competency wasn’t on full display in week one of the preseason as the Cardinals passed at will on the Texans. 

The Denver Broncos have taken the opening two games of the preseason seriously, winning both contests over the cream of the NFC West in the Seahawks and 49ers.  The week one win over the Seahawks was mild revenge considering the magnitude of the game but the Broncos can be proud of last week’s 34-0 shutout over the 49ers.  Peyton Manning has been dominant in both wins completing a total of 22/27 passes for 180 yards and a TD.   Brock Osweiller is also appearing to be a competent understudy after delivering a strong week two performance completing 10/13 passes for 103 yards and TD.  Star WR Demaryius Thomas has also played in both games and looks to be in peak form with ten catches already.

The Broncos defense has been strong against the run through two weeks of exhibition, which many would have expected after the unit ranked 8th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game last season.  With the additions of DeMarcus Ware at DE and Aqib Talib at CB, the Broncos should improve further as a defensive unit, making Denver the team to beat in the AFC for sure this year, if not the overall favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Broncos head coach John Fox has a career record of 8-4 in week three of the preseason.

The Broncos are hefty favorites for a preseason game here but I like Manning’s chances to throw for 2 TD’s in the first half of action which should put the home team in position to get the cover. 

Denver Broncos -7 (2 units)

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