Kansas City Chiefs vs Houston Texans
Saturday – January 9 – 3:20 PM CT
NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas
Records Before the Game
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, 5-3 away)
Houston Texans (9-7, 5-3 home)
It has been almost twenty two long years since the last time the Kansas City Chiefs were victorious in a playoff game. Ironically it was against an organization who once called Houston, Texas home back then. The Houston Oilers. The Kansas City Chiefs who are -3 point favorites and the hottest team in the league will take their ten game winning streak into NRG Stadium to try and recreate the magic from two decades ago.
Starting the season off at 1-5 and suffering a season ending injury to star running back Jamaal Charles, the season took on a look of despair. That one victory coincidentally came against the Houston Texans in Sept. 13. A Texan team who themselves appeared to be in for a long season after a 1-4 start to their season.
Through the fortunes of very good defensive play, both teams turned their seasons around. The Texans had to overcome a season ending injury to their star running back Arian Foster as well. Then came the onslaught of injuries at the quarterback position. The Texans found a way over the last nine games to secure seven wins all while playing four different quarterbacks.
Brian Hoyer has returned for the Texans after suffering from a concussion. No negative effects of his injury were evident in his play last week in the 30-6 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hoyer will need to be at his best against a Chiefs defense who over the last ten games gave up an average of only 12.8 points a game. He will be able to count on the reliable DeAndre Hopkins through the air for help moving the chains on Saturday. The Pro Bowler had a stellar regular season, finishing third in the league in both receptions (111) and yards (1,521). Hopkins found the end zone eleven times. The Texans must find a way to overcome the absence of left tackle Duane Brown who will be sidelined with a quad injury. Keeping the Chiefs’ Justin Houston off of Hoyer must come from help from the running backs on passing downs.
It isn’t that Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is sleeping well this week knowing All-Pro J.J. Watt awaits him. The league leader in sacks with 17.5, Watt was dominant in the their previous meeting this season. Watt will have to stay honest on his upfield pass rush due to Smith’s mobility. Smith has the ability to extend plays and find receiver Jeremy Maclin for big gains. Maclin enjoyed his best season as a pro after coming over from Philadelphia in the off-season with 88 catches for eight touchdowns.
The Texans are undefeated in playoff games at home (3-0). Like the Chiefs, their defense is only allowing just under 13 points a game themselves. The difference will be the playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Houston has a few more weapons than the Chiefs. Home field advantage won’t hurt the matter either.
Prediction: Texans 21 – Chiefs 17