This portends to be shootout between young gun-slinging QBs – Houston's Deshaun Watson and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs' offensive line got exposed and Mahomes has a bum ankle so J.J. Watt is salivating about his sack chances. If the Texans could generate a running attack such as the Colts', they could pull it off.
This is a tough call. The Chiefs (4-1) are the better team when healthy, but they’re all banged up. The Texans (3-2) are a weekly enigma, but Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are nasty. Ultimately, give me the home team — and the superior one — coming off a bad showing.
Patrick Mahomes is limping around with a bad ankle and he’s not the only one. The Chiefs might have more players injured than healthy at the moment. It’s not wise to bet on a team that banged up, even a team like Kansas City that should otherwise be laying a point or two more.
The Chiefs, Dolphins and Cardinals are the only teams to allow three 100-yard rushers this season. Not great company. Making matters worse, K.C. has injuries on the D-line, so Houston (129.4 rushing yards per game) should follow the script Indy wrote last week.
Deshaun Watson’s average time of release in the first four weeks of the season was 2.92 seconds. He shaved that by 0.49 seconds last week against Atlanta and as a result, he finished his first career game with a pressure rate under 10 percent. Watson is clearly making an adjustment to get the ball out of his hands more quickly and when he’s not running for his life on every snap, he’s one of the best in the game.
Everyone’s dumping on the Chiefs’ run defense, and justifiably so. But Kansas City’s pass rush has significantly regressed this season amid major personnel changes. The Chiefs ranked first in sacks (52) and eighth in sack percentage (7.60) in 2018. They currently rank 20th (11) and 21st (5.85), respectively, in those areas, which places a lot of pressure on Kansas City’s mediocre secondary. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V could go off.
It is hard to believe that the sky-high confidence of the N.F.L.’s most gifted quarterback will waver, and he’s playing at home against the Texans (3-2), who give up nearly 300 yards of passing a game. If his ankle is even close to right, Mahomes should be able to start another 25-point streak and the rest of the league can go back to wondering if he’s human.
Mahomes, however, will get revved back up for a shootout with 2017 first-round draft mate Deshaun Watson, knowing he'll likely get a big-play reinforcement in Tyreek Hill. Watson and Mahomes will take turns lighting it up, but the Chiefs will be better positioned to pull away in the fourth quarter.
Be careful betting against a Chiefs’ team that’s coming off a loss. Kansas City’s offense was held in check amid Patrick Mahomes aggravating an ankle injury and the Chiefs dropping a few big passes. There’s a chance Tyreek Hill will return Sunday. Houston’s defense isn’t up to the task of stopping the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.
Get ready for a lot of points as Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson square off. Mahomes is dinged some with an ankle injury, but I think he will still be able to carve up the Texans. On the other side, Watson will get his as well.
After scoring 10 points and managing just 264 yards offense against Carolina a week earlier, the Texans produced 53 points and 592 yards against the Falcons. They will need some of that against the Chiefs, who aren’t going to lose two in a row at home.
SILVER (0.25 UNITS)