KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-0)
at HOUSTON TEXANS (2-2)
NRG Stadium Ė Houston, TX
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:25 p.m. ET
Line: Kansas City -1.0, Total: 8:30
The Chiefs will be hoping to improve to 5-0 with a Sunday night victory over the Texans in Houston.
The Chiefs have been absolutely incredible this season, as they have now won-and-covered in four straight games to open up the year. Last weekís game against the Redskins was, however, a bit lucky. Washington dropped what should have been the game-winning touchdown pass late, and the Chiefs also scored a touchdown to put them up nine after the Redskins fumbled the ball on the meaningless last play of the game. Some have called it the worst beat of all-time, but thatís neither here nor there. The Texans, meanwhile, have also been playing some good football lately. They have won two of their past three games coming into this one, but they also happened to have covered in all of them. They nearly defeated the Patriots on the road two weeks ago, but Tom Brady snatched the game from right underneath them. Thatís the one they lost, but they have also won on the road in Cincinnati and then defeated a solid Tennessee team 57-14 in Houston. These teams are both looking like playoff squads right now, but the Texans would be under .500 with a loss here. While theyíre good enough to climb out of a hole like that, they definitely donít want to be there and will be motivated to avoid it. One trend that favors Kansas City in this game is the fact that the team is 14-4 ATS as a road favorite under head coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs are, however, a lousy 0-7 ATS after gaining six or more yards per play in four straight games since 1992.
The Chiefs are going to be trying to stay perfect with a win on Sunday, but itís not going to be easy. This defense is going to really need to be ready to go, as the Texans put up 57 points in their last game. Deshaun Watson looks like an absolute stud, and his ability to run the ball makes this offense hard to plan for. Luckily for Kansas City, the team has the type of cover corners that can stick with their men even when a play breaks down. That will allow a guy like LB Justin Houston (19 tackles, 4.0 sacks) to get after Watson. And on offense, the Chiefs seem to be able to score with anybody these days. QB Alex Smith (1,067 yards, 8 TD, 0 INT) looks like one of the best quarterbacks in the league this year, as he is taking more shots down the field and still taking care of the football, too. Last week, Smith threw for 293 yards with a touchdown against the Redskins. He also added 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Look for him to make plays in any way that he can in this one. Also, keep an eye out for RB Kareem Hunt (502 yards, 4 TD) here. Hunt has been the best running back in football this season, and he has really made this Chiefs offense take off. He has rushed for over 100 yards in three of the teamís four games this season, and he also has 13 catches for 157 yards and two scores. Heíll need to make plays against Houston.
QB Deshaun Watson (811 yards, 7 TD, 4 INT) has turned into a star since getting his chance to start for the Texans. The real breakout game came against New England, as Watson threw for 301 yards with two touchdowns and also rushed for 41 yards. He almost earned his team a huge road victory in that one, but they were unable to get timely stops. Then last week, Watson threw for 283 yards with four touchdowns and also rushed for another. He will definitely be able to make a few plays on Sunday, but itís important that he takes care of the football. If Watson is committing turnovers then he is going to give the Chiefs a much better shot of winning here. One thing that will help him avoid throwing picks would be to target WR DeAndre Hopkins (31 rec, 311 yards, 2 TD) as much as possible. Hopkins is an impossible cover for opposing corners, as he is both extremely strong and fast. His violent hands allow him to win nearly every 50/50 ball, which is a big part of the reason why he had 10 catches for 107 yards and a score last week. Defensively, the Texans must be ready to stop the run. The Chiefs have obviously improved their passing attack, but the first order of business needs to be slowing down Kareem Hunt.