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Three and Out: Texans-Chiefs Predictions

The Masthead gathers to predict 2020’s first NFL game as the Houston Texans visit Arrowhead Stadium to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally here. Week One. Game One. The Houston Texans are in Kansas City to try and erase the memory of...let’s just not go there.

Tonight begins another chapter of NFL history, and another chapter in what we hope will be many years of Deshaun Watson vs. Patrick Mahomes. The Texans have undergone major changes to their skill positions on the offensive side of the ball and didn’t do much to change the issues on the defensive side. The Kansas City Chiefs largely have brought back their Super Bowl championship team on both sides of the ball. With those changes (and lack of changes) in mind, let’s see how the BRB staff sees Week One going for your Houston Texans.

Tim: Chiefs 38, Texans 28.

While I have faith that Deshaun Watson will keep the Texans from being embarrassed, I struggle to envision a way that the Texans’ defense can hold Patrick Mahomes & Co. in check enough to allow the Texans to prevail. Anthony Weaver faces a monstrous test right out of the gate, and I just don’t think he has enough talent on the roster to match up with what Kansas City boasts at their skill positions, particularly in the passing game and with all the Chiefs’ difference-makers reportedly healthy. I fear that Travis Kelce will once again do to Houston what he did the last time these teams met.

Matt Weston: Chiefs 41, Texans 36.

I don’t see how Houston can stop this Kansas City team. Weird things, things that happened in their previous match-ups last season, would have to occur for Houston to stop the Chiefs in any way. Kansas City has the advantage in nearly every coverage situation. The Chiefs pass-protect well on the outside, and Patrick Mahomes dances around pressure well. Kansas City also usually starts off the season firing.

I see the Chiefs going up big early, hanging out, and Houston figuring things out when they’re down by 14+ to make this game closer than it actually ever was.

bfMFd: Chiefs 45, Texans 24.

Did Bill O’Brien learn anything since the last game? Ultimately, that’s the biggest question at hand. Considering he’s still doing the same stupid trash from his first game as the Texans’ head coach, I’m thinking LOL hail no. If David Johnson comes out A-gapping to start, it’ll be a replay of last season.

That said, the Texans’ defense is not going to be good. They were 22nd by DVOA in 2019, and even that feels too generous for 2020 after losing D.J. Reader. The Chiefs are going to feast.

Chris: Chiefs 38, Texans 28.

I expect the Texans to struggle on offense early in the season. With virtually no real offseason, no preseason whatsoever, and a whole host of new skill position players, I don’t really know how you could even expect the Texans to look like a well-oiled machine on offense regardless of the level of talent. Deshaun Watson will get it figured out in 2020, but I expect a bumpy start in the first quarter of the season overall.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are essentially the same team they were when they raised the tLombardi Trophy.

RJ: Chiefs 35, Texans 30.

I see the Texans having a patented slow start on both offense and defense. They have a lot of change to overcome for a strange offseason with no preseason or joint practices. However, I do think they figure out some explosion and get a good amount of points on the board, eventually - even if it’s a “too little, too late” style of scoring.

Simply put, my hope is that the Texans will be able to compete with the Chiefs in 2020, but doing that in Week 1 is a bit too much to ask and I don’t trust almost any defense against the Chiefs. Certainly, the Texans fall into this category as well.

If we all walk away from this game missing Hopkins a bit less, seeing the defense step up on a few third downs and red zone opportunities, and seeing the RBs actually get used well, I’d see this as a success even if it’s a frustrating loss.

Kenneth L.: Chiefs 34, Texans 20.

Unfortunately, nothing changed this offseason that makes me feel like we’re a better team than when we last played against the Chiefs. Unless Lonnie Johnson Jr. became a superhero over the last few months and miraculously learned to guard tight ends, Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks more than mask the loss of D-Hop, and the defensive line finds a legitimate way to replace D.J. Reader, this game won’t turn out any different than the one before it.

We’re going to be on the world stage on Thursday. The very first NFL game since COVID-19 hit. Things will be rusty, calls will be rough, and play may be pretty sloppy. Fortunately, the KC fans will be at a minimum and I wouldn’t expect too much chaos and noise affecting the Texans’ offense. Chiefs Nation will be kept to a Mendoza Line of fans, which should help the new members of the Texans communicate.

Overall, this should be a fun match-up of two QBs who got PAID this offseason and of two offenses looking to be aggressive down the field.

Joe Critz: Chiefs 38, Texans 35.

The Texans will open the season with an impressive performance on offense, with Watson looking almost like a mirror image of Mahomes. However, the Chiefs’ underrated secondary will ensure Houston is playing from behind the entire game, while the Houston defense continues to fail at creating pressure. Similar to the New Orleans game that kicked off our 2019 season, Watson will throw a touchdown pass in the final seconds in order to tie things up, but a surgical drive by Mahomes will end Thursday night with a game-winning field goal.

Questions after the game will be whether or not Watson can continue performing like an MVP week after week and if the Texans need him to do so in order to compete. Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller will prove be a deadly combination, Randall Cobb, David Johnson, and Kenny Stills will show how their contributions will keep drives alive, and Darren Fells will still be a favorite red zone target for DW4. However, all eyes will be on the defensive line for Week 2.

l4blitzer: Chiefs 49, Texans 31.

The last time that a Houston NFL team had an epic gag in a playoff game and then got the chance to return to the scene of the crime was in 1993. After THAT Wild Card Game, the Oilers, in Game 5 of the season, traveled back to Buffalo for a primetime (Monday Night Football...back when that still meant something). They had a new defensive coordinator (Buddy Ryan) and a desire for revenge.

The good news is that they improved. Instead of allowing 41 points, they allowed 35. The problem is that the offense only scored 7. It was the nadir of that infamous season, as the Oilers fell to 1-4. Warren Moon was benched, only to come back in the next game when Cody Carlson went down with an injury. That sparked an 11 game win-streak that offered a false flag of hope, setting the team up for another playoff derp; this time, against the Joe Montana Chiefs.

Now, what the [kitten] does that have to do with this game? Maybe something, maybe nothing. This is also a primetime game, and we have a new defensive coordinator (Weaver). Lost in all the furor from the playoff game is that the Texans scored 31 points in both games at Arrowhead last year.. Even sans Hopkins, and on the surface, not set up for a running game that could chew up yards and clock, I feel like a Watson-led team should be able to put up those kind of points against KC. Whether those points come in the fourth quarter when KC is going to the back-ups will be up to the defense.

Watt should be fully armed and operational, but will he be enough? Also, do the Texans have anyone that can even remotely cover Travis Kelce? If so, then perhaps the Texans’ D can hold down the KC juggernaut. However, with Mahomes healthy and raring to go, with a new contract and fiance, and Andy Reid loaded up with ri-don-culous offensive talent, a full offseason of some of the best burgers on the house in Kansas City, and relieved of the pressure of never having won the Super Bowl, it would appear that only a massive Super Bowl hangover will stop the Chiefs. I suppose the Texans’ D could play out of their minds, but even that might not be enough here.

At least I am giving them some improvement from the playoff game.

Carlos Flores: Chiefs 44, Texans 34.

There will be absolutely no shortage of offense in the season opener. I’m predicting that the Texans experience a couple of sleepy drives, but the Chiefs will waste no time in reminding everyone why they’re defending Super Bowl champions. Deshaun Watson will keep the Texans competitive against anyone, but the defense will be exposed early and often. If this matc-hup was later in the season, I’d be a little more optimistic about the chemistry in Houston’s secondary.

In this tough opening stretch for the Texans, it’s a tall order to suggest taking down the Chiefs in Week One. I’ll expect a better, closer fight with the Ravens once the team has some film to chew on. Seeing how the offense utilizes the Johnson twins and the new receivers role in the game plan will be the biggest takeaways from this game.

Mike Bullock: Chiefs 45, Texans 24.

The Bill O’Brien era Texans offense has averaged around 24 points a game. It has never shown the ability to come out hot and keep their foot on the gas. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid don’t suffer from either of those maladies.

Mahomes is going to put on a clinic torching Lonnie Johnson Jr., Vernon Hargreaves III, Keion Crossen and any other corner not named Bradley Roby. Deshaun Watson will work his magic while trying to overcome the challenges of a new offensive coordinator, new play caller, a sea of new faces in place of DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde, and O’Brien’s propensity to throw away timeouts on bad challenges and chronic sideline confusion.

Believing this is “the game” where Houston exonerates themselves from the utterly embarrassing playoff exit of last season is super appealing. But there’s no logical basis to back up that desire.

Sadly, by this time tomorrow, O’Brien will have been burned in effigy on Sports Talk 610, treated like the village idiot on ESPN, and the target of multiple “Fire him now” petitions all over the internet.

Hopefully, I’ve never been so wrong.

Ryan Dunsmore: Chiefs 31, Texans 28.

Why this score? I don’t know. I just don’t know in 2020 anymore. Even when I think something strange will happen on opening night, that still doesn’t include a Texans win. The lack of preparation benefits teams with continuity and top QBs. The two QBs with new contracts will show off their money-makers in bright spots while the overall game is sloppy.

How do you see tonight’s game playing out? Use the comments below to share your game predictions, and above all else - enjoy tonight’s 2020 kickoff!