The Houston Texas had huge offensive numbers against the Atlanta Falcons last week, but the offense fizzled the previous week against the Carolina Panthers. Which team shows up to meet the Kansas City Chiefs?
In his sixth season with the Houston Texans, Bill O’Brien has won three division titles, and his team is off to a 3-2 start, tied with the Indianapolis Colts for first in the AFC South. If safety Tyrann Mathieu is correct, O’Brien will pick on the Chiefs — and former Texans — safety. “I kind of know how this head coach thinks,” Mathieu said. “I’m expecting him to throw at me early on and try to get in my head. So I’m looking forward to it.”
What a contrast. Two weeks ago, the Texans were held in check by the Carolina Panthers in a 16-10 loss. Deshaun Watson threw for 160 yards, didn’t throw a a touchdown pass and was sacked six times. A week later against the Atlanta Falcons, Watson threw for a career-best 426 yards and matched a personal high with five touchdown passes. The Chiefs rank behind the Falcons in total defense this season. Watson can be rattled — he’s been sacked 18 times this season. But he extends plays with his elusiveness and has several weapons at wide receiver. Running back Carlos Hyde, cut by the Chiefs in the preseason, is the Texans’ leading rusher at 62 yards per game.
This will be Patrick Mahomes first regular-season start against a Bill O’Brien-coached team. Injuries continue to be an issue for the Chiefs. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill will be a game-time decision, Andy Reid said Friday. Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, the former Chiefs head coach, said they’re preparing for him to play. “You have to,” Crennel said. “He’s one of their main guys. I know he’s a little banged up, but all the banged up guys try to get back as soon as they can. So, if he’s out there, we’ll have a plan for him.” The Texans’ pass defense ranks No. 25 (270 yards per game by opponents). J.J. Watt remains one of the game’s most formidable defenders and has at least one sack in each of his last three games.