Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#135 Denver Broncos 41 vs.
#136 Houston Texans -9
Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 1:00pm EST
NRG Stadium, Houston
Written by Sporty Jordy



#135 Denver
#136 Houston


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When and where: December 8, 2019, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX, 1:00 PM ET

The Denver Broncos will head into NRG Stadium on Sunday hell-bent on complicating the AFC South picture for the Houston Texans. A win for the Broncos would put the Texans neck-and-neck with the Tennessee Titans for the division crown. The Broncos recently ruined any long-shot hope the Los Angeles Chargers had of sneaking into the backdoor of the playoffs, while the Texans are coming off a much-needed marquee home win over the New England Patriots.

Broncos are still dangerous

It would be unwise to get caught sleeping on the Broncos nearing the end of the season. Look at what they did to Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers. They effectively ended whatever hope the team had left of sneaking into the backdoor of the playoffs.

The Texans would do well to take notes considering they are locked in a tight race with the Tennessee Titans for the divisional throne.

Say what you want about rookie quarterback Drew Lock and the Broncos offense, but the defense remains a top-10 unit in points allowed. Even if it isn’t always pretty, opposing teams are having a hard time punching the ball into the end zone against the Broncos defense. They’re also the fifth-ranked passing defense in the league. So Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is going to have a tough outing for a second consecutive week.

Lock is fresh off his first regular season game in the NFL, and there is hope he’ll settle down more in the offense on Sunday. The Broncos could certainly help him along in that process by leaning on the combined rushing efforts of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman against a Texans defense allowing an average of 111.1 rushing yards per game.

Freeman (ribs) has been limited at practice and is officially listed as questionable for the game. Safety Will Parks (hand) is on that list as well after missing practice this week. Von Miller is also back on the practice field after missing the game against the Chargers.

Watson finally beats Brady

Deshaun Watson is happy knowing he at least beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots once before the greatest dynasty in sports history came crashing to a halt. He played a tremendous game when faced with a defense that has made more quarterbacks than Sam Darnold see ghosts. The most impressive stat of the game for the Texans was no turnovers. If they can continue to play mistake-free football, they’ll be a tough out for any opponent.

Speaking of tough, Watson will have a difficult time throwing into the teeth of a stingy Broncos’ secondary. The Texans need to establish balance with Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde in the run game if they have any hope of cracking the defensive code of the Broncos. Watson’s ability to use his legs is a big reason why the Texans are the seventh-ranked rushing offense in football. He’s always a threat to take off from the pocket and turn broken offensive plays into long gains.

That’s the sort of demoralizing effort the Texans need from him against the Broncos. The defense had a tremendous game against the Patriots’ struggling offense until the end of the game. If not for a failed onside kick recovery, Brady might have completed an epic comeback to steal the game. The Texans’ defensive front has to be stout against the run, but more importantly, they have to get home and force Lock into bad throws.

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There is a dangerous tendency to want to brush off the Broncos like they’re any ordinary 4-8 team in the league. Of course, the team is loaded with a long list of problems that have contributed to their losing record this season. But you would be hard-pressed to find a more dangerous team in their situation.

The Broncos’ pass defense is for real, and they aren’t an easy team to score touchdowns against. Opponents typically come away with field goals instead of seven points when facing them in the red zone. There is no question that the Texans are more than capable of winning on Sunday, but the 9.5 points is a bit high considering how well the Broncos are playing on defense.

At the very least, they are capable of keeping the game close and forcing the Texans to sweat a bit. Even with Lock at quarterback, they’ll lean on a conservative offensive approach spearheaded by Lindsay and Freeman seeing an uptick in carries. I like for the Broncos to at least keep the game within a touchdown on Sunday.

Give me Denver plus the points.

Prediction: Denver Broncos (+9.5)

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The Broncos have a knack for spoiling games they aren’t supposed to win. A similar case could hold true on Sunday with Watson and the Texans offense matching wits with the Broncos defense. The struggles finding success through the air against the Broncos secondary is one of the reasons why it’s been so hard for teams to score touchdowns against them.

They are a stingy unit that gets tougher to play against with a shorter field. On the other side of the ball, Lock is a young quarterback going on the road against an elite team vying for a playoff spot. I’m not expecting any sort of breakout performance from him on Sunday. I’m taking the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (41.5)

Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.