The Kansas City Chiefs will need a bounce back performance this week. The loss to the Colts didn’t just hurt them in the loss column, Kansas City is also severely banged up. With injuries and expectations surrounding this team, Sunday won’t be an easy matchup. Furthermore, the Houston Texans are coming in to Arrowhead off a big win. Their offense was rolling. Will that continue? Let’s find out, as we get things going with our preview of Chiefs versus Texans.
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Back To The Basics
For the Chiefs, their is an urge to get back to the fundamentals defensively against the Texans. With Chris Jones out, Kansas City would we wise to not overcomplicate things up front. Let Derrick Nnadi go out there and do what he does best. The same goes for Tanoh Kpassagnon and Emmanuel Ogbah. To be frank, this Texans offensive line has not improved much from last year’s dysfunctional unit.
The fundamentals also need to be a focal point for the linebackers. The middle level of the defense was seemingly non-existent last week. The Colts gashed them with the run, and once again, there were too often of times where defensive backs had to make the tackle. When they are spread out across the field, that’s when the Texans offense operates best. If Kansas City’s defense can revert back to what worked against Oakland and Baltimore, the Chiefs will do just fine against Deshaun Watson and the Texans.
Hop and Willy
DeAndre Hopkins is easily one of the best receivers in the league. But when Will Fuller gets going, he’s just as dangerous in this offense. Last week, Fuller torched the Falcons for a whopping 16 catches, 217 yards and three touchdowns. It will be intriguing to see if the Chiefs run more zone or man defense against the Texans. I’m not sure any of the cornerbacks could keep up with the long speed of Hopkins or Fuller. Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill may have a chance to do that at safety. Either way, don’t be surprised to see Houston constantly try to connect on deep balls with both of those receivers.
What kind of options will Patrick Mahomes have at his display on Sunday? It looks as if Sammy Watkins won’t be playing again, due to a lingering hamstring injury. Tyreek Hill could play for the first time since Week One. He has practiced the last two weeks (largely in limited fashion). However, he is a game time decision and even if Hill is available, it may not be for every single play. We’ll see if/how much he ends up taking the field.
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For the rest of the weapons, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Travis Kelce have a monster game. Kelce was frustrated with no calls he feel Kansas City should have got, and there were a couple of times where the tight end was unable to make the play in a big moment. On the first drive in this one, look for the Chiefs to try and emphasize Kelce often. As for Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman, they’re looking to bounce back after a couple of down weeks.
Balance It Out
The Chiefs need to get the running game going against the Texans. Last week, saw little attempts or success for the backfield guys. While it was nice to see Damien Williams return to the scene, LeSean McCoy‘s role was significantly hurt because of it. McCoy only had two touches, both receptions, and suffered a fumble lost. While fans would like to see Mahomes win games by himself, the running game would help balance things out. Also, more pounding of the rock keeps the hobbled Mahomes fresh.
Matchup To Watch: Chiefs Offensive Line vs Texans Pass Rush
In the Colts game, Mahomes mobility was on display early. The Colts eventually roughed up the QB. As a result, he was forced to run for his life. Due to injuries on the offensive line, the Chiefs have added veteran Stefen Wisniewski. Wisniewski is versatile, and he could be ready to go in this contest. On the other hand, the Texans enter this game with 15 sacks. Nine of those sacks have come from the combo of JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. For this game, the Chiefs will need to be buckled up for the stout veterans of the Texans.
Mahomes vs Watson: Mahomes and Watson could be the next great AFC quarterback rivalry, due to their similarities. According to NFL Research, Mahomes (112.4) and Watson (105.4) are 1st and 2nd respectively in career passer rating (minimum of 20 games). Their combined career passer rating of 217.8 will be the highest by opposing QBs entering a matchup in the Super Bowl era.
Additionally, only 10 QBs since 2000 have tallied 11+ touchdowns with one or fewer interceptions through the first five weeks of the season. Two of them (Mahomes and Watson), will meet on Sunday.
Under Andy Reid, the Chiefs are 4-1 against the Texans.
That will wrap up our preview of Chiefs versus Texans. Be sure to stay tuned to Full Press Coverage, for more great sports and NFL content.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.