The Chiefs roll into Houston to take on a Texans team with the opportunity to clinch the AFC West title for the seventh consecutive year. This accomplishment would be tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history with the 1973-1979 Los Angeles Rams and behind only the 2009-2019 New England Patriots and their 11 in a row. The Texans, meanwhile, have fallen off a cliff, Wile E. Coyote-style. They come in with a record of 1-11-1 and riding an eight-game losing streak. The struggle has been real for Houston, as injuries and a lack of talent have them at the bottom of most statistical categories on both sides of the ball and staring at the first overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
One of the most significant mismatches will be when the Chiefs have the ball. Kansas City ranks in the top two of the league in total yards and points scored, while Houston’s defense is in the bottom six in those categories. They also have the worst run defense in the league, allowing over 165 yards per game. Patrick Mahomes and Isiah Pacheco will look to have a field day, but they will both have to look out for rookie safety Jalen Pitre. The second-rounder out of Baylor has been all over the field, tallying 104 tackles and three interceptions during his inaugural season. Defensive end Jerry Hughes has eight sacks on the year and certainly needs to be accounted for as well.
The Texans also come with one of the worst offenses in the league, ranking dead last in total yards and third-to-last in points scored. They have been without starting wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins and lost rookie running back Dameon Pierce after last week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. That means they will lean on 10-year veteran running back Rex Burkhead and wide receiver Chris Moore to lead the attack.
There are questions at quarterback as well, as they went with both Davis Mills and Jeff Driskill at times during the game to modest success. The Chiefs’ defense should be able to impose their will on this struggling Texan attack as they are coming off a six-sack performance against the Denver Broncos.
The biggest thing Chiefs fans are looking for is how well the players execute against a team they are clearly more talented than. Even though Kansas City beat Denver last week, there was a feeling that they could have (and should have) won by more after being up 27-0. They seemed to coast the rest of the way, allowing Denver to get right back in the game because of sloppy mistakes. Houston played their best game of the year last week against the Dallas Cowboys, coming within a yard of potentially the season’s biggest upset. If the Chiefs fail to keep the intensity up throughout the game, the Texans are more than capable of giving you a scare.
The Chiefs will look to further the Texans’ chances at the number one overall pick this Sunday afternoon in Houston. These two franchises are going in opposite directions, which has led to the Chiefs as a 14-point favorite on the road. Kansas City has had issues with execution on offense for the past weeks, leading to their inexperienced defense being put into challenging situations. The Texans certainly are not a pushover, but the Chiefs have the advantage in nearly every matchup. If the Chiefs are faced with a situation where they can deliver a knockout punch, it will be interesting to see if they can connect. If the Chiefs can take care of business, it should be Henne Time in Houston.
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