In what could perhaps be their toughest test yet, the Houston Texans host the Kansas City Chiefs at home. Houston demolished the Tennessee Titans at home last week while the Chiefs handled the Washington Redskins at home. Kansas City is the favorite in this matchup and for good reason, they are clearly the better team. However Houston was able to completely destroy a Titans team that was considered by many to be superior in every way. The Texans are riding a high into a game where they realistically could defeat the leagues last remaining undefeated team.
Kansas City is third in points per game (30.5), second in yards per game (405.2), 12th in pass yards per game (241.8) and first in rushing yards per game (163.5). The Chiefs rushing attack is led by rookie sensation Kareem Hunt. Hunt has rushed 68 times for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Hunt has also caught 13 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. The offense clearly runs through Hunt and every team knows that. They only problem is that he is yet to be stopped and it should not be expected for Houston to be the first to stop him.
The incredible season for Alex Smith continues as he has completed 76 percent of his passes for 1067 yards and eight touchdowns and is yet to throw an interception. The primary targets for Smith this season have been Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Albert Wilson. Hill has caught 21 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns, Kelce has caught 21 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns and Wilson has caught 14 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown.
Houston’s defense has allowed the ninth-fewest passing yards per game (196) and 14th-most rushing yards per game (95.5). The Texans defense ranks 14th in sacks with 10 and is tied for fourth in takeaway’s with seven (four interceptions and three fumbles). Pressuring Alex Smith and containing Kareem Hunt will be key to a potential victory on Sunday.
Kansas City’s defense has given up the eight-most passing yards per game (248) and 13th-most rushing yards per game (111.5). The defense has only forced six turnovers (four interceptions and two fumble recoveries) but is ninth in quarterback sacks (11). This could prove problematic for the Texans offensive line which has proven to have issues. Watson has been moved around more compared to the first two games, but it will still be difficult to handle the Chiefs strong pass rush.
Houston is fourth in points per game (27.5), 17th in yards per game (332.8), 25th in passing yards per game (193) and fifth in rushing yards per game (139.8). The Texans offense will rely on the strong play of Deshaun Watson and their strong running game if they want to win Sunday. Watson has come to life after just managing his way throw his first two games. In his last two games Watson has thrown for 584 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions while adding 65 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown.
Lamar Miller is still struggling to find consistency on the ground as he has rushed 68 times for 257 yards and one touchdown while catching 10 passes for 120 yards and one receiving touchdown. The Houston rushing attack is using a committee approach and it has worked well. An attack that primarily uses Miller as the lead rusher, D’Onta Foreman as a change of pace back and Watson to provide another dimension.
In order for the Texans to come away victorious, they will need to keep Watson upright and focus on the rushing game. Defensively they must contain Kareem Hunt and not let Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce beat them in the passing game. The Chiefs offense can be lethal, but can be stopped as was seen in their last game against the Washington Redskins. Houston just has to stop them long enough to put up enough points offensively that Kansas City will have to play catch up. If they are unable to accomplish this, the Chiefs offense is capable of blowing the doors off the Texans defense. Which is what Houston can not afford if they want to win on Sunday.