The Houston Texans host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 and this can be their most difficult test yet. Kansas City took down the Patriots in Week 1 and look nearly unstoppable. The Chiefs are the last remaining team in the NFL and for good reason. They are clearly the best team and Houston will have a tough time stopping them. Here are five keys to the game to give the Texans a shot.
1. Limit Big Plays from the Chiefs
Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt are the two most dynamic weapons in the Kansas City offense. Hill and Hunt are both capable of taking an ordinary play and turning it into a long touchdown. If the Texans want to a chance on Sunday, they must limit the Chiefs big play potential and that starts with limiting Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt.
2. Keep Deshaun Watson Upright
Kansas City ranks ninth in quarterback sacks with 11 and is one of the better units in the NFL when rushing the passer. The Texans offensive line still is not great and this will continue as long as Duane Brown continues his hold out. Houston has gotten around this by moving Deshaun Watson around in the pocket and utilizing play-action rollouts. Kansas City can apply pressure quite easily and should on Sunday. Houston will need to continue moving him around to avoid the pass rush of the Chiefs.
3. Continue The Running Back By Committee Approach
There has not been one rusher for the Texans to carry the load this season and depending on how it is perceived, this could be good or bad. Lamar Miler is the leading rusher with 237 yards through four games, not exactly what is expected out of a starting running back. D’Onta Foreman has been a nice change of pace back with 114 yards and Deshaun Watson has added his fair share of rushes amounting to 148 yards. As long as the Texans can continue having all three being effective as a unit, they will put themselves in the best position to win.
4. Pressure Alex Smith
Alex Smith has had an excellent start to the season, completing 76 percent of his passes and throwing eight touchdowns. He has been sacked 16 times though for games, the third-most in the league. Houston is still struggling with their pass rush as they are yet to have their breakout game. This week against Kansas City gives Houston their opportunity for their pass rushers to finally round into form.
5. Take Advantage of Eric Berry’s Absence
The Chiefs defense has allowed the eighth-most passing yards per game (248) and this is good news for Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. The season ending injury to Eric Berry is contributing to this. Berry is one of the leagues best defensive backs and without him it takes a great defense and makes it an average one. Hopkins will have the chance to take advantage of defense that is now without it’s best defensive back. Watson will have opportunities to go over the top to Hopkins and lead to game changing touchdowns for the Texans offense.
If the Texans want a chance to win on Sunday they must limit the big plays form the Chiefs and pressure Alex Smith. Offensively they must continue to use their running back by committee approach, keep Watson upright and take advantage of Eric Berry’s absence. As long as they an accomplish all of this they can come away victorious on Sunday.