The Kansas City Chiefs are looking to run their record to 7-0 this afternoon at home against a disappointing Houston Texans squad. The Chiefs elite pass rush is licking their chops for this matchup, because they are going up against a QB making his NFL debut in Case Keenum. Matt Schaub is out with an injury he sustained last week, and the Texans decided to toss T.J. Yates to the side following his poor performance last week against the St. Louis Rams in relief of Schaub. The Texans offensive line has had major issues in pass protection this year, and Schaub was under duress on most plays. Right tackle has been a huge issue for the Texans, and that’s a huge issue going up against a guy like Justin Houston, who 9.5 friggin’ sacks this season.
It’s time to break this down by briefly matching up the main positional units.
Kansas City Chiefs Pass Offense vs. Houston Texans Pass Defense
It was kind of pathetic watching the Kansas City Chiefs pass offense go to “work” last week against the Oakland Raiders, because the only wide receiver who looked above average was Dwayne Bowe. Alex Smith couldn’t even get him the ball, and don’t get me started on how bad Donnie Avery looked. This Chiefs team needs somebody other than Bowe and Jamaal Charles to step up, and Avery needs to show more consistency. The wide receivers managed to make the Oakland Raiders CBs (most notably Tracy Porter) look like a bunch of All-Pros, and Alex Smith is only giving more fuel to the haters. It’s kind of sad to see your starting QB complete just 56.5% of his passes when he is only averaging 10.9 yards per completion.
The Texans pass defense, meanwhile, is one of the best five units in the league statistically when looking at net yards per attempt allowed. These guys do it by putting pressure on the quarterback at a swift rate. J.J. Watt, Antonio Smith, Whitney Mercilus, and Jared Crick are four names you should definitely know going into this game (well, all hope is lost if you don’t know J.J. Watt).
That said, the Texans pass defense isn’t infallible by any means. Johnathan Joseph is excellent, and the worry is that he could destroy the Chiefs passing attack if he shuts down Bowe. Kareem Jackson can also ball, but the linebackers are very suspect in coverage. That definitely bodes well for Jamaal Charles, and I think we’ll see him have a big game today. Smith needs to throw a lot of screens to Charles, especially since it will keep the Texans pass rush honest.
Chiefs Ground Game vs. Texans Run D
Jamaal Charles is the man who carries this Kansas City Chiefs offense, and he did a nice job racking up yardage last week. It’s pretty ridiculous just how much he is doing, and people who said that Charles would see a lot of targets in the passing game this year with Andy Reid at the helm weren’t kidding. Charles already has 33 receptions for 300 yards and two touchdowns this season, but he is still killing it on the ground too with 475 yards and five TDs. The Texans have done a decent job of stopping the run this year, but things can get dicey if Charles is able to break into the second level. While Charles should have a solid game, I don’t think he’s going to go off today, which puts more pressure on Smith to improve this week.
Continue reading for thoughts on how the Houston Texans offense stacks up against the Chiefs defense.