The big game is finally here. The biggest game of the Houston Texans season, until they get to play those other AFC nuisances like the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. It’s a hot, young quarterback showdown between Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. It’s Andy Reid outcoaching Bill O’Brien. It’s screen passes the Texans can’t cover. It’s Will Fuller catching deep touchdown passes. It’s a Tyrann Mathieu revenge game (good riddance). It’s all of that and more.
This is how the BRB staff sees this one going.
Diehard ‘The Joker Movie Is Better Than Taxi Driver’ Chris: Chiefs 31, Texans 28.
I know the running talk this week is the Chiefs are vulnerable and the Texans could perhaps win in a shootout. Maybe they can, but the Texans’ secondary is still what it is, and Andy Reid is one of the best in the game. I don’t expect everything Indy did to KC will work two weeks in a row, and we have to keep in mind that to get a pass rush, Romeo Crennel has to manufacture it to a large degree. Pat Mahomes may not have his full complement of weapons, but I still think the Chiefs do enough to get a late win.
Also, just because I feel I’m due for a gut-punch, non-person kicker thing Ka’imi Fairbairn misses the game-tying field goal at the gun.
TIM: Chiefs 31, Texans 27.
It’s a road game in a tough environment against a Super Bowl contender. I can’t pick the Texans to win these kinds of contests until they actually show a penchant for doing so under Bill O’Brien. Thus far, even taking into account the wizardry of Deshaun Watson, the Texans have a habit of coming up just short in similar games (e.g., @ New England and Seattle in 2017; @ New England and Philadelphia in 2018; @ New Orleans earlier this season). DW4 will keep the Texans in it, and it’ll be entertaining, but ultimately I think the trend continues.
Mike: Texans 17, Chiefs 24.
While I’d love to hop aboard the Texans’ train after last week, the times Bill O’Brien has strung together feel-good wins in back-to-back weeks are hard to remember. Patrick Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks in the game and Houston’s secondary among the worst. The Chiefs’ defense is a far cry better than the Falcons. The Chiefs aren’t a team that you can play to not lose to, and that’s Bill O’Brien’s MO.
While I certainly hope I’m wrong and that Houston hands the Chiefs their second straight loss to an AFC South opponent, I just don’t think O’Brien has the juice to face an elite team and walk away with a W.
TexanRevJ: Texans 31, Chiefs 28.
Two weeks ago, I would’ve had the Texans losing this game. After the loss to the Panthers, it didn’t look like we belonged in the same league as the Chiefs. Two things have happened that change my attitude towards this game.
First, the Texans’ offense went off last week and I was reminded just how special Deshaun Watson is as a QB. Will Fuller finally put a defense on its heels, and the OL was more than serviceable as we destroyed a weak Falcons defense.
Second, Patrick Mahomes got hurt and the Colts pulled out a win on Sunday night. The Chiefs looked mortal for the first time in a long time. All reports I’ve seen say Mahomes should be fine come game time, but if he’s even a little hobbled, it helps the Texans tremendously. J.J. and Mercilus would have a field day with a QB who can’t move off the spot. Add in the fact that the Chiefs can be run on, and our chances to steal a game that most will pick us to lose are pretty high.
The real duel will be between the two head coaches. It sounds weird to say this with Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill (maybe?), J.J. Watt, and Tyrann Mathieu on the field, but the real intrigue of this match-up is Bill O’Brien versus Andy Reid. I give the advantage to Reid, but if BOB can pull this off, he’ll earn a little more respect around my household.
Matt Burnham: Texans 34, Chiefs 31.
If the Texans didn’t play prevent defense when the Saints needed 7 yards, I’d be 2 for 2 in these big game predictions so far.
I think the Chiefs have real holes on their team that the Texans can exploit. Their run defense is putrid. The Patriots showed this in the AFC Championship Game, and the Colts showed it again last Sunday. I expect a heavy dose of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson early on. Ground and pound.
I also know that when Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t gamble for a pick, Kansas City’s pass defense is also awful. Seriously, it is no better than it was last year. I expect the Texans to attack the seams plenty. They will use the play action with Fuller to gash the secondary. I think Keke Coutee could find himself in open space in the middle of the field. Translation: This will be Keke’s breakout game of the year.
Tyreek Hill might play, and as a fantasy owner of his in three different leagues, part of me wants to see him on the field. The other part of me knows that without Hill, the Chiefs lack the precise route-running to truly exploit the holes in a secondary that is also suspect at best. Route-running devours man coverage, not speed. The Chiefs might also be without Sammy Watkins.
Kansas City does not look the same right now. Patrick Mahomes does (despite what the stats might say). But without Bashaud Breeland’s fluky 100-yard fumble return touchdown two weeks ago in Detroit, this is a 3-2 team. Not exactly the powerhouse we all expected (although I do think they will be there towards the end).
The Texans are an inexplicable prevent defense away from 4-1. This team is not going away. As long as DW4 has the ball without defensive ends in his face, he is a magician and a top five quarterback in the league. Do I trust him to pick apart the Chiefs’ defense? Yes. Expect his MVP case to be further validated on Sunday.
Matt Weston: Texans 30, Chiefs 34.
The timing couldn’t be any better for the Texans. Patrick Mahomes was hobbling last week. Chris Jones isn’t practicing. Eric Fisher is out with a groin injury. Tyreek Hill and his broken wing may not be able to fly just yet. Houston is spry, clean, and playing a lesser version of this Chiefs squad.
That being said, the way to beat the Chiefs is to run the ball, control the clock, tackle well, play the ball at the catch point and when they’re carrying it, win the turnover battle, attack their linebackers in the pass game, play man coverage, and survive the inevitable Mahomes passing onslaught. Even at an early low point total, points going to come. Four touchdowns in a quarter. Three scores in seven minutes isn’t impossible. The Chiefs will get theirs.
Houston can’t really play that kind of game. The run offense is fine, but that’s more about Houston running behind Laremy Tunsil-Max Scharping double teams, nice vision and cutbacks, and running the ball against light boxes. That being said, it’s not a run offense that can do what the Patriots did last season or what the Colts did last week. The Texans can’t control and dominate teams like this.
The Texans will probably have to play shootout against the Chiefs. They’ll have to hope J.J. Watt can beat up on Cameron Erving or Mitchell Schwartz, that Whitney Mercilus makes wide and looping sacks, and that D.J. Reader craters the interior. They need to hope Mahomes is wobbling, and that they can cover just long enough on the back end. Then, on top of all of that, the Texans have to outscore Mahomes, which means putting up 30+ points or so. That’s possible. It’s just something Houston hasn’t done often.
To sum it up, the Texans will have to try let Watson out-throw Mahomes, and nobody has been able to do that. The injuries swing this game in Houston’s favor and make a win a possibility. I’m just going with the all-time great passing offense at home instead of the very good one on the road.
Use the comments below to make your predictions. Above all else, love and savor the footballfootballfootball.