Houston Texans vs Kansas City Chiefs: Predictions and Odds (AFC Divisional Round Playoffs)
My prediction for the final score is Chiefs 30, Texans 24.
How to Watch: Texans vs Chiefs
What: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, January 12 at 3:05 pm ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
How (TV): CBS
Texans vs Chiefs – Point Spread
Texans +9.5, Chiefs -9.5
Houston vs Kansas City – Game Preview
This is the first of two exciting Sunday Divisional Round playoff matchups, and it features an AFC battle between Deshaun Watson’s Houston Texans, who are fresh off their Wild Card win over the Buffalo Bills, and Patrick Mahomes’ KC Chiefs, who have enjoyed a week off after earning the number two seed in the postseason.
These two teams already played each other this season in Week 6, when the Texans beat the Chiefs (with Mahomes playing) by a score of 31-24, and that was at Arrowhead Stadium, the same location of this Sunday’s revenge match.
Houston is excellent on the ground, which Kansas City has been having a tough time defending, and here we take a side-by-side look at these two offensively strong teams to see how they match up this win-or-go-home Divisional Round of the playoffs.
For more on the Divisional Rounds check out: Divisional Round Picks & Best Bets
The 10-6-0 (1-0) Houston Texans
Not only do the Houston Texans have an excellent running back duo (see below), they also have quarterback Deshaun Watson, who can not only rifle the ball down the field but who is also speedy enough to consider his legs as a viable option, so far this season with 82 carries for 413 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The reason that’s especially important is that the team they’re about to play, the Kansas City Chiefs, has not been able to stop the run all season (they’ve given up 4.9 yards per carry), so it stands to reason that the Texans will do their most damage on the ground Sunday.
Of course, when you also have a speedy receiver like DeAndre Hopkins catching balls thrown by an arm as talented as Watson’s, the Texans become difficult to stop (like they were in the second half of their Wild Card win over the Bills) since Watson and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly are excellent at balancing the two attacks against each other.
The 12-4-0 (0-0) Kansas City Chiefs
The way head coach Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs usually win is by using their fast and talented offense (starring Patrick Mahomes under center) to whip up and down the field and into the end zone, their team ranked 5th in the league in scoring after averaging just over 28 points per game.
And what’s important in this matchup is that Mahomes and company will be facing a Texans pass defense that’s ranked 29th in the league (meaning only 3 teams were worse) so expect him to remind the football world of just how good looking (and no-looking) a quarterback he is.
The Chiefs may not be strong against the run, but they can sure shut down the pass, and that will be important when facing a quarterback like Deshaun Watson, who is just as dangerous through the air as he is with his legs.
Texans vs Chiefs – History
These two rivals have met 11 total times (including 1 postseason game), with Houston winning 5 of those times and Kansas City winning the other 6 games.
The last time these two teams played each other was earlier this season in Week 6, when the Texans went to Arrowhead Stadium (pre-déjà vu) and beat the Chiefs in front of their hometown crowd by a score of 31-24.
The winner of this game will face either the Tennessee Titans or the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, January 19 at 3:05 pm in the Conference Championship round of the playoffs.
The loser, of course, goes home.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 19 Texans-Chiefs matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Texans and the Chiefs next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Offensive Stats Comparison
Houston Texans Overall Offense
- Ranked 13th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 15th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 9th
Quarterback Deshaun Watson has been picked off 12 times this season and sacked 44 times, so it’s a wonder that a) he’s still healthy and b) he was still able to complete over 67 percent of his passes for 3,800+ yards and 26 touchdowns, his team averaging 23.6 points per game.
The Texans rushing attack is a top-10 unit, with Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Taiwan Jones and Buddy Howell averaging over 126 yards on the ground per game and a combined 4.6 yards per carry.
Unlike their upcoming opponents, the Houston Texans have not had the benefit of a first-round playoff bye, so they are affected by injury as a result, with playmaking receiver Will Fuller (groin), tight end Jordan Akins (hamstring) and starting right tackle Chris Clark (concussion) all listed as questionable for this one.
Kansas City Chiefs Overall Offense
- Ranked 6th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 5th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 23rd
Despite missing a couple of games this season due to a dislocated kneecap, Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the 10th ranked at his position, with over 4,000 yards thrown for 26 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, his completion percentage just under 66 percent.
Doesn’t hurt that Mahomes is throwing to Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, two of the fastest receivers in the NFL, not to mention tight end Travis Kelce, who is ranked as the most productive at his position this regular season with 1,229 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.
As nice as it was to have the first week of the postseason off, the Chiefs are still having to deal with a serious injury situation, with 14 of their players currently designated to the injured reserve list and with offensive guard Andrew Wylie (ankle) listed as questionable for Sunday, a game-time decision.
As excellent a matchup as Deshaun Watson versus Patrick Mahomes is, the Kansas City Chiefs will have the offensive advantage over the Texans because they have more playmakers, plus the crowd will get quiet for them while they’re on the field.
Defensive Stats Comparison
Houston Texans Overall Defense
- Ranked 28th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 29th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 25th
The Houston Texans are in the playoffs despite having a defense that ranks near the bottom of the league, one that has allowed opponents to score just over 24 points per game, with 12 interceptions and 31 total sacks.
One Houston player that Mahomes had best keep an eye (or two) out for is Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who has 7.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defended, 4 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 48 total tackles (9 for a loss) on the season.
There could be a shortage of Texans on defense for this game due to injury, with cornerbacks Cornell Armstrong (coach’s decision) and Johnathan Joseph (hamstring) plus safety Jahleel Addae (Achilles) all listed as questionable, game-time decisions.
Kansas City Chiefs Overall Defense
- Ranked 17th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 8th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 26th
The Chiefs defense, which is much stronger against the pass than the run, has allowed opponents to score just over 19 points per game, plus the team has 16 interceptions and 45 total sacks.
Kansas City has two quarterback hunters on their D-line that have had some serious success this season, with defensive ends Chris Jones (9 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 36 tackles) and Frank Clark (8 sacks, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles, 37 tackles) becoming a duo that can keep opposing QBs panicked and on the run.
Besides all the players on injured reserve they’re missing, there’s a chance that the Chiefs’ defense may have to ‘next man up’ three more times on Sunday, with cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland (illness) and Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and defensive tackle Xavier Williams (ankle) all listed as questionable for this one.
Neither of these two teams is known for their defense, but the Chiefs have the defensive advantage, nonetheless, though being weaker against the rush could hurt them against the Texans, who love to run.
Texans vs Chiefs – Final Game Analysis
Why Will the Texans Win this Game?
The Houston Texans will win if they can take advantage of their superior run game against the Chiefs’ weak rush defense, which means big games from both Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, something that tandem has been doing all season, plus quarterback Deshaun Watson has to be dangerous (as usual) on the ground.
What a solid running game by the Texans (established early on) also does is keep Kansas City (and more importantly, Patrick Mahomes) off the field, which has proven to be the best way to beat Andy Reid’s typically high-scoring Chiefs.
For Watson’s passing attack to be effective, it would be absolutely helpful to have banged-up deep threat receiver Will Fuller healthy and on the field (unlike in the Wild Card game last week), since his route running causes the secondary to pull away from the middle of the field, where DeAndre Hopkins and giant tight end Darren Fells (among others) have been successful targets.
Why Will the Chiefs Win this Game?
The Kansas City Chiefs should easily win this game because their offense has one of the best quarterbacks in the league and Patrick Mahomes has some of the biggest playmakers as targets, so it’s just a matter of them simply outscoring whatever the Texans can manage to put on the scoreboard.
If the Chiefs’ defense can somehow put a cork in the Texans’ ability to run the ball, then it should make it a lot easier to focus their energy on making life uncomfortable for Deshaun Watson, who has been sacked 44 times this season so he’s obviously vulnerable in the backfield.
Kansas City typically does well at home (they were 7-1 at Arrowhead last season but 5-3 at home this year), and after the Missouri crowds already had to watch Houston beat their Chiefs earlier in the season, there’s no way they are going to stay quiet enough to let that happen again on Sunday.
Texans vs Chiefs – Who Will Win?
The Kansas City Chiefs will win this game by almost a touchdown because their defense will step up and neutralize the Texans’ run game enough that Patrick Mahomes and his offense can spend plenty of quality time on the field and in the end zone.
The Green Men of WSN’s Picks and Best Bets Podcast predict the Kansas City Chiefs will win this one.
My prediction for the final score is Chiefs 30, Texans 24.
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