Kansas City Chiefs (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Pro Football Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 18th, 1:00 PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium
By Mike M., NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC +3 / HOU-3
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Kansas City Chiefs head south to battle the Houston Texans in a Sunday afternoon matchup of two teams that managed to get through the first week of the NFL season unscathed. This will be the third time in just over a calendar year that they will be playing against each other with the Chiefs having won the last two, 27-20 in week one of last season and then 30-0 in the AFC Wild Card playoff back in January.
Houston spent the offseason revamping their team offensively through both free agency and the draft, which was a necessary move considering they finished 2015 ranked 19th in total offense and 21st in points per game. Not only that, the team also ended their regular season by scoring exactly and only 6 points in seven of their last ten game before the aforementioned playoff shutout against the Chiefs. The Texans made an immediate splash in March when they signed quarterback Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller within days of each other to four year contracts. Miller was brought in to head their backfield after they decided not to resign Arian Foster, who missed nearly all of the 2015 season after getting injured for the 578th time in his career, which Osweiler was signed to a $70 million contract after he showed a lot of promise a season ago after taking over for a benched Peyton Manning in Denver midway through the season. Some questioned giving so much money to an unproven quarterback, but the Texans likely realized they werenít going anywhere with Brian Hoyer leading the way and rolled the dice on Osweiler, who falls between Matt Cassel and Matt Flynn in terms of the recent quarterbacks without much experience who got big paydays from a team willing to roll the dice for a quality signal caller.
The Texans also tried to revitalize the offense through the draft in April, taking wide receiver Will Fuller in the 1st round, center Nick Martin the 2nd, receiver Braxton Miller the 3rd and running back Tyler Ervin in the 4th. Fuller made an immediate impact in week one, starting behind Deandre Hopkins in the WR2 spot and finishing the game with 5 receptions for 107 yards a touchdown. His day could have been even more productive had he not dropped an easy pass for what would have been an 83-yard touchdown. Drops were a highly consistent issue for Fuller when he played at Notre Dame, and he will need to cure his fits of stonehands quickly if he wants to secure a starting role throughout the season.
Fuller was not the only new face to make a quality first impression with Houston as both Osweiler and Miller had productive games in their teams 23-14 win over the Bears. Osweiler recovered quickly from throwing an interception on the Texans first drive, completing 22 of 35 passes for 231 yards, 2 touchdown passes and just the lone early turnover, while Miller carried the ball 28 times for 106 yards while also hauling in four catches. If Brock can continue to progress, the Texans trio of Osweiller/Hopkins/Miller should provide solid entertainment for Houston fans for years to come.
While Houston was able to take control against Chicago early in the 4th quarter last Sunday, the Chiefs needed a furious comeback in regulation to tie their game against the Chargers and then overtime to eventually beat San Diego 33-27, Down 24-3 in the third, Kansas City grabbed momentum and scored 24 of the next 27 points in regulation before quarterback Alex Smith ended the game with a two yard touchdown run in extra time, completing the biggest comeback in the Chiefs 56 year history.
For the game Smith ended with 363 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception while completing 34 of 48 passes. With Jamaal Charles continuing to miss time while recovering from ACL surgery, the Chiefs relied on his backup Spencer Ware to lead the way and he rewarded them (and his daily/weekly fantasy owners) with the best game of his career, rushing 11 times for 70 yards and a touchdown while also leading the team in receptions, hauling in seven passes for 129 yards through the air. While Ware did miss practice on Wednesday with a sprained toe, according to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid he is expected to play on Sunday.
Thankfully it is the regular season, so we can actually put faith in what Andy Reid is saying/believing as a coach. Itís once he gets to the playoffs that the Wilford Brimley Walrus somehow forgets football reason and logic and coaches his team to their seasonsí end, most notably in recent history as he has gone just 1-5 in his last six postseason games. Things have gone especially postseason poor for Reid since arriving in Kansas City. In 2013 his team lost to the Indianapolis Colts 45-44, clinching the silver medal for the second biggest blown lead in playoff history as they were once up 38-10 before Reid got his whiskers/tusks in a bind and the idea of coaching adjustments went out to sea. This happened again last year, when the Chiefs lost in the postseason to the Patriots 27-20 in a game they were in until midway through the fourth quarter before Reid got struck stupid again, disregarding the idea of timeouts as his team slowly meandered their up the field attempting to comeback but instead draining what little of the clock was left and their chances of winning away. With that defeat, the mustachioed masochist verified his rightful claim to the throne as the worst postseason coach since Marty Schottenheimer retired in 2006.
Despite everything I just said about Andy Reid, Iím taking the Chiefs and the field goal head start this weekend against Houston. While the Texans have a great defensive line including JJ Watt, Vince Wilfork and the revitalized Jadeveon Clowney, they could face issues with linebacker Brian Cushing having torn the MCL in his right knee against the Chargers last week and is now expected to miss at least six weeks due to the injury. This leaves a hole not only in trying to cover the multi-dimensional Spencer Wade but especially tight end Travis Kelce, who has torched the Texans in their last matchups with a combined 14 catches for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Itís true that most trends are in Houstonís favor with them having covered in their last five games as a favorite, are 5-2 against the spread in their last at home and 6-2 following a win, while the Chiefs have gone 1-4 versus the line in their last five following a win and 1-5 in both their last six games as an underdog and a duplicate 1-5 in the last six games they have been getting points on the road. But never forget that the trend is not your friend and itís never wise to base a wager on past history, unless of course an Andy Reid led team finds itself in the postseason again.
Mike M's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Kansas City +3
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