We continue to get closer to week 1 as another round of preseason games are on the docket for Saturday to quench your thirst for NFL football. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get this season underway. A lot of the preseason has been characterized by slop and flags all over the place. Once the regular season starts I expect the sloppy play to decrease and I hope the flags do as well. If it continues at the pace it is now many games are going to be unwatchable. I unfortunately dropped my pick last night on the Jags/Lions OVER 44.5 in a game that was often difficult to watch. The Lions got stuffed on 4th and 1 from the Jacksonville 2 yard line early in the 2nd quarter. I had a feeling it was going to be one of those games following that. While there has been plenty of sloppy football, I feel there is one team that is always on point due to one man, Peyton Manning.
Texans vs. Broncos Spread and Betting Odds:
Houston Texans +7 (-115)
@Denver Broncos -7 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Texans vs. Broncos Pick:
Rust is often a word you hear often in the preseason, but I don’t know if Peyton Manning knows what the word is. He is a perfectionist, and I think he would like to win a game even if it was in the parking lot. Manning only played a quarter last week, however, he made the most of it firing for 102 yards on 12/14 passing with a touchdown. The offense lost Eric Decker in the passing game; I don’t expect that to hinder them all that much, though. They did Emmanuel Sanders from the Steelers, who will stretch the field deep, giving Manning another option in this game, and for the regular season. I don’t think Manning cares if it is the regular season or preseason, he’s going to go out and play to the best of his ability without a doubt. The offense was an absolute juggernaut last season, amassing 457.3 yards of average per game and 38 points a game, the Broncos were clearly the best offense in the NFL a year ago. The starters figure to play the first half and then perhaps a little in the second.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler will take over for Manning after he departs. This is actually a reason for why I like the Broncos to win and cover in this game. Of course we should get solid production out of Manning and I believe Osweiler is an excellent option as a backup. The Broncos selected Osweiler in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft, so there is potential for him to be a starter somewhere in this league very soon. Every time I have watched him play he hasn’t disappointed me. Last week he didn’t make any mistakes and moved the ball effectively. He finished with 103 yards on 10 of 13 passing, adding a touchdown as well just like Manning did. Oswelier was playing against second stringers, but he had a similar performance to Manning stats wise. Between the two of them they went for 22/27 passing in the contest last week against the 49ers.
The Texans’ defense has a chance to be really good this season. First overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney, has already showcased flashes of excellence in the preseason. Whether this will translate effectively to the regular season remains to be seen, but him and JJ Watt may be terrorizing quarterbacks for years to come. I have doubts about the offense, however. They will be average this season, I think I can already say that much. That is what Ryan Fitzpatrick is, an average quarterback. I don’t see him taking the offense to another level, one that averaged only 17.2 points a game when Matt Schaub was at the controls. I really like Manning to look like he is in mid-season for again this week, like he did a week ago. Receiver Emmanuel Sanders may need to sit this one out due to an injury, but nevertheless I still like the Broncos to cover. The defense should be much better than last season with newly acquired Aqib Talib at corner. A healthy Von Miller and Talib will make some noise this season. Look for an immediate impact in a game where they’ll see reasonable playing time. Broncos at home laying -7 against the Texans looks like a worthy wager to me.
PICK = BRONCOS -7 (-105)