After surviving a Wild Card game with the Buffalo Bills last week, the Houston Texans will take a shot against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round on Sunday. At home, the Chiefs are favored by 10 points with an over/under of 51 points.
The Texans are no doubt thanking their lucky stars after beating Buffalo last week. Houston trailed 16-0 midway through the third quarter and scored 19 unanswered points, only to see the Bills force overtime.
However, the Texans answered the call in the extra session and now have a chance to reach the AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history.
The Chiefs are trying to get back to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight season while also putting some of their playoff struggles behind them. Kansas City is just 2-5 in the playoffs under Andy Reid, with three of those losses coming at home.
On the bright side, the Chiefs won six in a row to close out the regular season and enter the playoffs with a lot of momentum.
A Helping Hand
Unlike last season, there’s a chance the Kansas City defense will be helpful during the playoffs. The Chiefs have come on strong defensively late in the season, giving up just 11.5 points per game over the course of their six-game winning streak.
In fairness, they didn’t exactly face a daunting schedule during that stretch. But if the Kansas City defense can pull its weight, the Chiefs become that much harder to beat, especially with the Arrowhead crowd behind them.
Of course, the Chiefs will mostly be leaning on quarterback Patrick Mahomes to carry them. While he didn’t replicate last year’s MVP season, Mahomes still threw for over 4,000 yards in 2019 with 26 touchdown passes and just five interceptions.
The only question is whether the return of Damien Williams late in the season can jumpstart Kansas City’s rushing attack, or if the Chiefs will continue to struggle running the ball, leaving everything up to Mahomes.
Just Do It Again
It’s worth noting that the Texans beat the Chiefs in Kansas City back in Week 6. The 31-24 scoreline actually doesn’t do justice to how much Houston dominated that game.
The Texans had over 150 more yards than the Chiefs and nearly doubled them in time of possession. If not for three Houston turnovers, the Texans could have won by a more lopsided margin.
However, replicating that kind of performance won’t be easy. As mentioned, the Kansas City defense is in much better shape, while Houston’s offensive line remains a problem, as Deshaun Watson was sacked seven times by the Bills last week.
Watson has the talent around him to create big plays and keep up in a shootout with Mahomes. But that won’t happen if he has to run away from pressure all game.
The Real Deal
It feels like people are overlooking the Chiefs at the moment. But they’re about to remind everyone that they’re serious Super Bowl contenders.
The problems on Houston’s offensive line leads to long stretches without points, which is something the Texans can’t afford during a playoff game in Kansas City.
Bet on the Chiefs to cover the 10-point spread behind a strong performance from their defense.