Houston Texans (4-2) at Denver Broncos (4-2)
I’m torn on this one. On one hand, this line has for some reason gotten higher in favor of Denver in the past week, climbing from 6.5 to 9, even though the Texans won at home against the Colts and the Broncos lost on the road to the Chargers. Nine points is a lot of points to give with a team like Denver whose offense has disappeared in the past 2 weeks, causing the Broncos to drop back-to-back games after an impressive 4-0 start.
Ordinarily, 2 bad games after 4 good ones wouldn’t be a reason for concern, especially considering one of those games was started by a backup quarterback, but the Broncos struggled mightily on offense all last season and needed to pull off a lot of close victories to not just win the Super Bowl, but even get into the playoffs. They won just 3 regular season games by more than 7 points all last season. They’ve already won 3 games by more than 7 points this this season, but their recent offensive skid is cause for concern. Trevor Siemian is an underwhelming talent and inexperienced starter at quarterback and the league may be figuring him out. Their issues go beyond the quarterback position, as their running game and offensive line have really struggled in the past 2 weeks and they lack a capable 3rd receiver in the passing game.
On the other hand, it’s hard to argue that the Broncos are not still a tough opponent, particularly at home, given how good their defense is. The Texans are not as good as their 4-2 record suggests as their 4 wins have come at home by a combined 26 points against the likes of Tennessee, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Chicago and they’ve gotten crushed in their two road games against tough opponents, losing by 27 in New England (who was playing a 3rd string quarterback) and 18 in Minnesota. They rank just 18th in first down percentage differential and are even less talented than that suggests because they’re without top defender JJ Watt for the season. I’m taking the Texans, but I can’t be confident at all.
Denver Broncos 17 Houston Texans 9
Pick against the spread: Houston +9