Free NFL Pick: Houston at Denver 12-26-2010

December 26, 2010

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Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

Sunday December 26th, 2010 4:05 PM EST

Line: Houston -3

Overview:

The Denver Broncos have had a difficult time figuring out who they are and what they want to accomplish. They have dropped five straight and are trying to get back on track after Josh McDaniels drove their franchise into the ground with a succession of terrible decisions. It is unclear whether the Broncos are trying to see what they have in certain personnel acquired by McDaniels or if they are trying to make changes to appease the fan base, but there are certainly significant changes being made.

The Houston Texans are banged up, but that is no excuse for putting forth an effort like the one they put up last week when they took on the Titans. They are out of the AFC South race, but with jobs on the line, the Texans are going to need to step it up and at least attempt to salvage some sort of pride by taking out a vulnerable, flawed Broncos team.

Keys to the Game:

  • Tim Tebow has to be more accurate. America became enamored by his legs and didn’t realize that he was only completing 50% of his passes. While he makes the offense more balanced and dynamic, Tebow has to become a better passer. Limiting interceptions will suffice as doing a well enough job for the present, but it was his mechanics and dissecting of defenses that made teams shy away from him in the first¬† place. The Texans have the very worst pass defense in the entire NFL, so if Tebow can exploit them, the Broncos should be able to carve up their defense.
  • Can Arian Foster get back on track after posting 15 carries on 11 yards last week? The Texans are a balanced offense, but their loss is in large part to the lack of a running game. They don’t need Foster to completely dominate and rack up 150 yards, but having a healthy amount of carries and YPC is imperative to the well being of their offense, the passing game included.

Key Matchup:

Brian Cushing Vs. Tim Tebow

  • With DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams out, the Texans need Brian Cushing to step up in a leadership role. He is the last remaining super star on the Texans’ defense and he has to have his best game this weekend for the Texans to be effective. Tebow approached 80 yards on the ground and ran in a touchdown. The Texans don’t want any big gainers to swing any sort of momentum to the Broncos.
  • Staying home is going to be key for everyone on the Texans’ defense, given the spark that Tebow proved he could provide the Broncos with. The Texans aren’t awful at stopping the run, so Tebow may be better suited to try to throw on boot legs and after he gets flushed out of the pocket, rather than look to run first and foremost at times before going through progressions. The Texans have little to no pass rush at this point and should make Tebow comfortable.

Wrap Up:

The Texans looked terrible last week, but the Broncos haven’t won since week ten. They are undergoing a coaching change and quarterback alteration that has left the team with a lack of purpose and identity. It’s all fixable in the long run, but as of right now it is difficult for a brand new head coach to try to incorporate a new quarterback into an offense that does not play to his strengths. I like the Texans to win, but only because of the sad state the Broncos are in.

Free NFL Pick: Houston -3


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