The game of the week in the NFL this week features the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans. Kickoff is at 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 13 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. A majority of the country will be able to watch the game on CBS.
Currently, the Chiefs are listed as 4.5-point favorites. The game also has an ambitious over/under of 56 points. Be sure to check out a full list of the Week 6 NFL odds.
The Chiefs saw any hope of an undefeated season come to an end last week when they lost at home to the Colts. It was an uncharacteristically bad game by the Kansas City offense, which only managed to score 13 points. In fairness, Patrick Mahomes was battling a minor ankle injury, although he says it won’t have any impact on his mobility moving forward. It’s worth noting that the Chiefs had a couple of close calls in recent weeks against the Ravens and Lions, so they were moving toward a loss.
The key for Kansas City is to avoid one loss becoming two or more losses in a row. The Chiefs have a short week next week, playing in Denver on Thursday night, followed by back-to-back home dates with the Packers and Vikings. That’s not exactly an easy schedule, so it’s important that the Chiefs get their mojo back this week.
As for the Texans, they seemed to have plenty of mojo last week, putting up 53 points on the Falcons in a 53-32 win. However, Houston has been a little up and down this year, scoring an impressive road win against the Chargers but also losing at home to the Panthers. At the moment, they sit at 3-2, putting them into a tie with the Colts in a crowded AFC South.
After this week’s trip to Kansas City, the Texans have another road game next week against the aforementioned Colts. They also have a trip to London lined up to kick off a tough November schedule. The good news is that the Texans have proven that they can win away from home. They’ll have to find at least one win away from home in the next couple of weeks if they hope to stay on top of the AFC South.
Believe me when I say that it’s not easy picking against the Chiefs, even coming off a loss. But there are lingering concerns about the Kansas City defense and injuries concerns about the offense. That’s enough for me to lean toward the Texans, who have a huge upside when everything is clicking.
For the Kansas City offense, I’m not concerned with Mahomes and his ankle issue. Rather, I’m worried about his supporting cast. Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are both listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. They’ve survived without Hill this year because Watkins has been their deep threat, but that changes if Watkins is out too. They still have Travis Kelce, but it’ll be easier for the Texans to keep him quiet if they don’t have to worry about Hill or Watkins beating them over the top.
The Kansas City offensive line is also a little banged up, which led to protection problems against the Colts last week. Mahomes was still able to put up impressive numbers. But four sacks by the Indy defense and a lackluster rushing attack by the Chiefs kept halting drives. With J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus lining up for Houston, the Texans can take advantage of Kansas City’s offensive line issues just like the Colts did.
On the other side of the ball, there could be even more pressing concerns for the Kansas City defense. The Colts haven’t figured out how to stop the run this season, a problem that nearly cost them against the Ravens and Lions and finally caught up to them last week against the Colts. Again, this is a weakness the Texans are capable of exploiting. Houston is averaging over five yards per carry this season with Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde combining to average 103 yards per game running the ball.
The offensive line problems that plagued Houston last season are finally starting to dissipate. If Deshaun Watson gets time in the pocket, he has three receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills who can all run wild in the secondary. The Kansas City pass rush has been fine this year but not overly impressive. If they can’t get consistent pressure on Watson, it could only be a matter of time until Houston’s receivers find empty space in the Kansas City secondary.
Obviously, Mahomes is the ultimate equalizer. He was able to overcome a bad Kansas City defense for most of 2018. But pulling out a win and covering 4.5 points are two different things, especially if the Chiefs are missing their best receivers. Despite a little week-to-week inconsistency from the Houston offense this year, the Texans have a legitimate chance to win this game. The Chiefs are reeling just enough for me to take a chance on the Texans and the points as road underdogs.