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Texans vs. Broncos: 3 to Watch Behind Enemy Lines

A look at three Broncos players not named Russell Wilson that the Texans will have to keep tabs on.

The Houston Texans are undefeated but winless all the same after Sunday's 20-20 tie to the Indianapolis Colts for the Week 1 opener. 

After holding a 20-3 fourth-quarter lead, the Texans collapsed in the final frame, giving away what looked like a win despite an expected push from the Colts.

The challenges only get tougher in Week 2, as Houston will travel to Mile High to visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday for kickoff at 3:25 p.m C.T. 

Despite a 17-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, the Broncos have assembled a highly-talented roster that is littered with play-makers on both sides of the ball. 

The biggest offseason addition to this group was longtime Seahawks quarterback and nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson. 

But the quarterback is always the talk of the town. Aside from Wilson, let's look at three Broncos the Texans should keep tabs on headed into Sunday.

RB Javonte Williams

Williams is the 1A to Melvin Gordon III as the 1B in Denver's backfield and played liked it Monday night, though it was his work as a receiver that set him apart.

Williams led the Broncos in targets (12) and receptions (11) against the Seahawks, as Williams was a check-down machine for Wilson and made some impressive run-after-catch plays.

His ability to slip through tackles and display underrated power at the point of attack makes Williams a dangerous and tiring running back for defenses to deal with. Williams had just seven carries for 43 yards compared to 12 carries for 58 yards for Gordon III, but should more ball-carrier action as he looks to wear down a Texans defense that just had to suffer through 31 carries for 161 yards a touchdown from Colts running back Jonathon Taylor. 

WR Courtland Sutton

It was Jerry Jeudy who stole the show on the big 67-yard catch-and-run for Denver's only touchdown Monday, but Sutton could present the most physical problems against a young Texans secondary. 

At 6-4, 216, Sutton could be a problem for rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who will likely be faced with the challenge of covering him and Jeudy throughout the game. 

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This is the first time Sutton has been paired with an elite quarterback like Wilson, making his one-on-one ability in contested-catch scenarios all the more dangerous if the Texans aren't careful. He was quiet early on in Monday's loss to the Seahawks, but finished with four catches for 72 yards as Wilson started to look more toward his receivers. 

Injuries had held Sutton from stringing together successful seasons, including last year where he played in just one game before missing the rest of the season. 

His best year came in 2019, as Sutton totaled 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns before earning his first Pro Bowl nod. The Texans defense exceeded expectations in Week 1, but could be a stepping stone for Sutton as he looks to reclaim elite status. 

LB Bradley Chubb

The positive news for a middling Texans offensive line is that Chubb was handled well by Seattle rookie left tackle Charles Cross for most of Monday night. 

But it's impossible to shut him down for long, as Chubb still ended up with the only two sacks for the Broncos in the loss, both coming in the fourth quarter.

Injuries have limited Chubb from recording back-to-back productive seasons since he entered the league in 2018. As a rookie, he totaled an impressive 12 sacks but has posted only 10.5 since, which includes the two sacks he had against Seattle. 

But given his performance in Week 1, it's already looking like a statement year for the one-time Pro Bowler. 

He'll likely line up against an experienced tackle and two-time Pro Bowler in Laremy Tunsil, but we saw the Texans o-line get worn down as Sunday's game went into overtime. 

It'll be a battle between Chubb and Tunsil, but expect Denver's top pass-rusher to get his fair share of wins behind a loud Broncos crowd and the tiring altitude of Mile High.


You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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