|1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET21:05 GMT5:05 2:05 PM MST4:05 PM EST3:05 PM CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:� , November 4, 2018|
Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Colorado Weather: 53°, Cloudy Attendance: 76,270
WR Thomas faces former team in Broncos-Texans matchup
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
- The Broncos lead this all-time series 4-2, winning the last two meetings. Only one quarterback matchup has occurred more than once in the series -- Houston's Matt Schaub versus Denver's Peyton Manning. Case Keenum will be the sixth different Broncos QB to start versus the Texans in the seven meetings.
- Houston is the first team since the 2000 Steelers to open the season 0-3 and reel off at least five straight wins immediately thereafter. Big plays keyed last Thursday's win over Miami, as the Texans' offense had three plays of 40-plus yards after managing only one such play in the season's first seven games.
- Denver is the only team in the league in 2018 averaging at least 130 rushing yards per game and allowing at least that many. The Broncos are on pace to become the first team in league history to average at least 5.00 yards per rush on offense and allow at least 5.00 per carry on defense.
- Deshaun Watson had five TD passes and no interceptions last week against Miami, completing a career-best 80.0 percent of his passes (16 of 20). Watson has thrown touchdown passes in 13 consecutive starts; in franchise history, only Matt Schaub has had a longer streak: 16 straight starts in 2010-2011.
- Case Keenum has been intercepted in eight straight starts to begin 2018, the longest such streak to open a season by any QB since Denver's Peyton Manning in 2015 (nine straight). Keenum, who was intercepted only seven times in 481 attempts with the Vikings in 2017, has thrown 10 picks in 288 passes in 2018.
- Demaryius Thomas ranks second in Broncos history in receiving yards (9055) and receiving TDs (60); after 125 games with Denver, Thomas figures to make his Houston debut after this week's trade. He can become the second player ever to catch a touchdown pass for and against a single team within the same season (Chris Chambers, 2009 for and against San Diego).
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The Houston Texans will be going for their sixth straight win on Sunday with a former member of the opponent on their side.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, traded this week from Denver to Houston, makes his Texans debut against the Broncos.
Thomas gives the Texans a wideout to complement DeAndre Hopkins and helps offset the loss last week of Will Fuller V to a knee injury.
"I'm excited," Thomas said. "They always say change can be different. I know those guys have been doing great since they've been together, so I'm excited to be a piece and be a part of it."
His new teammates are glad to have him.
"I think it is awesome," Hopkins said. "Demaryius brings a lot of skill to this team. Experience in the NFL, he is a great guy off the field. I have trained with him before, I think it is a good move."
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien made it a point to say Hopkins remains the top target for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
"I don't think it's any secret," O'Brien said. "He's the leading target on third down. He's got a bunch of yards. He's our No. 1 receiver. We're not trying to hide him. Hop knows that. That's why he is who he is.
"I mean, nothing's changing. We're doing what we're doing," Watson said. "Throw it deep, throw it short, throw it across the middle. I mean, everything we're going to do, we're going to do.
"So just because we lose Will doesn't mean that the train is going to stop or we're going to take a different route."
For the Broncos, Thomas' departure clears the way for rookie Courtland Sutton to get on the field more with No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Tim Patrick also is expected to see more playing time while DaeSean Hamilton nurses an injury.
Sutton has 17 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns in eight games (one start). He averages 19.1 yards per reception.
"Courtland can be special," Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said. "We've all watched him during training camp and through the first two months of the season. He's got special ability. Now he has got to prove it, along with DaeSean Hamilton and along with Tim Patrick.
"We've got some young guys that we think are capable. It speaks to our receiver room. It's a young room, but it's talented."
Denver quarterback Case Keenum said while he'll miss Thomas, he has faith in all of his receivers.
The Broncos are getting production from a trio of young players. Rookies Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman and Sutton have combined for 1,321 yards from scrimmage this season. It is the fifth most by a trio of rookies through eight games since the 1970 NFL merger.
"Obviously, as a quarterback, when you look to the left and right, just what kind of feelings do you get," Keenum said. "It's an unspoken kind of chemistry, non-verbal. You can call it a lot of things, but I feel that way about all of those guys. I've got trust in all of those guys."
On defense, the Broncos will get some much-needed help in the secondary with safety Su'a Cravens expected to make his season debut. Cravens was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury before the season but was cleared to practice two weeks ago.
"He's a playmaker," Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "To get a guy that's a big body like him -- he's a great blitzer. He can play the run and also he's a big body that can guard the tight ends too. Just another big body. He's going to be huge. A lot of times he's going to play right next to me."
Updated November 1, 2018