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preview between these teams, please go here: Kansas
City vs. Houston Texans AFC Wildcard Preview and Pick.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: September 13th, 1:00 PM E
Where: NRG Stadium
TV: Direct TV
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: KC +1.5/ HOU -1.5
Over/Under Total: 40.5
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This is probably the toughest matchup to predict on this Week’s card. Both teams are very similar in terms of scheme and personnel. The Texans & Chiefs both have defenses that could potentially be ranked in the Top 5 by the end of the season. The Chiefs were ranked No. 2 in scoring defense last season (17.2 ppg). The same can’t be said for both offenses. All eyes will be on the starting quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Brian Hoyer. Both quarterbacks have won games in this league, but haven’t show the consistency needed to make deep playoff runs. If they can take their game to the next level anything is possible, because the stop unit for both squads is very good. Andy Reid and Bill O’Brien are two of the better head coaches in the league. Two very similar teams to start the season although the Chiefs special teams is going to be very good once again this season. The Texans special teams was awful last season and will be looking to improve on their No. 28 ranking.
The Chiefs went the entire season last year without a wide receiver scoring a touchdown. Amazing. Kansas City brings in Jeremy Maclin to help boost the passing game. I love his talent and would not hesitate to grab him in your season long and/or weekly fantasy drafts. The Chiefs are going to throw the ball down field more often this season and you can expect over 100 targets for Maclin. He had a tremendous 2014 season, catching 85 passes for 1,318 yards to go along with 10 touchdowns for the Eagles. Maclin likes playing at NRG Stadium. He had six receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns a year ago. It would not shock me if Maclin scored a touchdown in this game, thus ending the Chiefs long streak without a touchdown to a receiver. Tight end Travis Kelce (67 receptions, 862 yards) and Running back Jamaal Charles (1,033 rushing yards, 9 TDs) are poised to benefit from the acquisition of Jeremy Maclin.
Brian Hoyer and the Houston Texans will be missing All-Pro Running back Arian Foster as he recovers from groin surgery. Foster had a great season racking up 1,246 yards with eight touchdowns, despite missing three games. His backup, Alfred Blue struggled mightily averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk are listed as the backups to start the season. They are unproven. That puts more pressure on the offensive line and the passing game. DeAndre Hopkins is a stud and should have a big year. The Texans offensive line should be solid this season, but will have to contain linebacker Justin Houston and his league leading 22 quarterback sacks last season. Brian Hoyer ranked 27th in QBR last season (39.8) and will be playing for his fifth team in seven years. Backup Ryan Mallet is waiting in the wings if Hoyer flops.
The Chiefs struggled last season in pass protection ranking 28th, with a whopping 48 sacks allowed. For comparison purposes, the Broncos ranked No. 1 with just 17 sacks allowed. We all know the Texans defense is big and fast led by J.J. Watt. Houston signed nose-tackle Vince Wilfork, who commands a double team just about every play. Wilfork is headed to the Pro football Hall of Fame once his playing days are over. He’s that good even at 33 years old! Jadeveon Clowney seems healthy and adding rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson to already talented secondary makes the Texans defense very formidable.
Kansas City’s offensive line should protect better this season with the signing of guard Paul Fanaika and overall health. It may take some time though. Alex Smith has more weapons than ever before heading into this season. The big question is weather he can take advantage or will Smith continue to play it safe with short quick type passes. The Chiefs are consistently ranked in lower third (25th since 2012) in pass attempts per game and will be looking to be more explosive this season. It does help having Jamaal Charles who averaged 5 yards per carry last season.
The Chiefs are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in September. The Texans are 4-1 ATS in their last five game in Week 1.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Chiefs vs. Texans Over 40.5
The Under seems like a “Lock” so let’s take the Over. I think the total is a tad too low. Look for some defense/special teams touchdowns to help push this game Over the total.