Cover Photo: The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Houston Texans for the second time this season. Photo credit Steve Sanders Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Divisional Round: Texans vs Chiefs
By Sam Kombrink
The post-season is here. The time is now. For the second year in a row the Kansas City Chiefs have secured a first round bye with a record of 12-4. The Chiefs are the #2 seed this season, after securing the top overall seed last season. This time they will play the #4 seeded Houston Texans (10-6), led by Quarterback Desean Watson. The Texans are coming off of a 22-19 home wildcard victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs will need to bring their A game because during week 6, Houston escaped Arrowhead with a 31-24 win, but these are two different teams than they were in week 6.
During Week 6 of the regular season the Chiefs were not 100 percent healthy on both sides of the ball. Now despite losing rookie Safety Juan Thornhill to a torn ACL, the Chiefs will need to rely on their depth at the free-safety position. Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will most likely rotate Safety Dan Sorenson and Safety Jordan Lucas, as well as second year Safety Armani Watts with pro-bowl Safety Tyrann Mathieu. Other than the injury to Safety Juan Thornhill, the Chiefs are fully healthy and ready to roll..
Under Head Coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs have qualified for the postseason six out of seven seasons and have won four consecutive AFC West titles. The Chiefs hold a 46-14 (.767) record against AFC opponents dating back to 2015. KC has tallied a 32-10 (.762) mark against AFC West opponents since 2013, including victories in 27 of the last 30 meetings (.900). The Chiefs enter Sunday’s game riding a six-game win streak to close out the regular season. In those victories, KC’s defense allowed a league best of only 11.5 points per game.
In a press conference held January 6th, Reid said he was looking forward to Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. “You know that they are a good football team. When you get to this time of the year and you’re playing in the playoffs, everybody is a good team,” he said. “(Texans Head Coach) Bill O’Brien is a friend, and he does a heck of a job there.”
“Every team changes throughout the season,” said Reid in reference to facing the Texans a second time. “They develop their personality. We’re not the same as we were in the beginning, they’re not the same as they were at the beginning. So, here we go.”
Fun fact: In 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs rallied from a 1-5 start to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. The Chiefs traveled to Houston to take on the Texans in the Wild Card round. Running Back Knile Davis returned the game’s opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown and the Chiefs went on to defeat the Texans 30-0, Kansas City’s first postseason victory since the 1993 season.
For the first time in the history of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Offense and Defense are both ranked in the top 10 in scoring. So many past Chiefs teams have had the talent, but have not ever been fully balanced. Until now. The Offense finished the season ranked 5th, and the Defense ranked 7th. The time is now.
I expect the Chiefs to execute on all three phases of the game on Sunday. Look for the Chiefs to score fast and use their speed to their advantage offensively, with big production out of Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill. I predict that the Chiefs will win the game by a score of 34-24 and advance to the AFC Championship to play the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore.