The Texans and the Chiefs match up in the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in Texans history.
Since the Texans came into the league in 2002, this will be their 4th appearance in the divisional round having matched up against the Patriots twice (’12 ’16) and the Ravens back in 2011. The Texans have faced the Chiefs in the playoffs before in a game to forget back in the 2015 wildcard game at home. We all know how that ended. The last time these two teams played each other was back in week 6 when the Texans traveled to arrowhead and came out with a win.
Now, there is certain confidence the Texans have going into this game knowing that they CAN beat the Chiefs at home, but I am going to give a few question marks that have me worried about the possibility of repeating that success.
This past offseason, the Texans acquired Tashaun “TE whisperer “Gipson. The hope of this acquisition was that he would come in and primarily cover tight ends. In the week 6 matchup, Kelce caught 4 balls for 58 yards. That is minimal damage for a player of his caliber because we all know that he won’t be quiet the entire game no matter who is on him. He poses a problem and a matchup nightmare for Romeo Crennel and that defense. The big question remains, who will step up and cover Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target on Sunday?
Deshaun Watson is one of the main reasons (if not the main reason) why the Texans will succeed or fail. The team will go as Deshaun goes, meaning that if Deshaun Watson is on and the offense is clicking, they can’t be stopped. We all know his struggles with wanting to extend plays that ultimately get him sacked or his trouble with reading the blitz, but that is also what makes Deshaun great. Extending plays and finding the open man for a big play. As fans, we scream “GET RID OF THE BALL” or “THROW IT AWAY” when those plays happen but rejoice when somehow gets out of his and hit his man for a big play. We must take the good and the bad when it comes to hi extending plays because when it’s on, it’s great and we love it, but when it’s bad, it is awful. The question mark behind Deshaun is which player is going to show up. Let’s take the Bills game last week for reference. Are we going to see the first half Deshaun, or are we going to see the second half Deshaun? Let’s hope for the second half Deshaun for 4 quarters on Sunday afternoon.
The Bills front seven was one of the toughest for any opposing offensive line the entire season. They had a top defense all the way around with led them to the playoffs. Now the Chiefs’ defense is stout, but nothing like they faced against Buffalo. With that being said, the Chiefs have a strong front seven as well. Having the like of Frank Clark, T-Sizzle, and Chris Jones, none of which were on the field for that week six match up. The offensive line has its work cut out for them defending this group. It will take Deshaun making reads at the line to help them out and for them to win their one on one battles all afternoon. If the Texans can limit the Chiefs to 3 sacks on the day, (3 too many) then I believe the Texans have a real chance to steal one in Kansas City. The question remains, will Deshaun make quick decisions and make reads at the line to give them the best chance for the shot plays downfield to Will Fuller?
Speaking of Will Fuller, the question remains, will he play? I don’t have to put all the numbers and statistics on here to tell you how valuable Fuller is to this offense. He puts this team on another level and is a nightmare for defensive coordinators. Go back and watch the week 6 game. Fuller should have had at least two touchdowns that he dropped. He catches those and the Texans easily score 35 points and win that game convincingly. Will Fuller is a game-changer and the question of if will play every week is something Texans fans will have to deal with as long as he is here. If he plays, it will give an opportunity for BOB to open the playbook (hopefully) and unleash the running attack that beat them before in their last meeting.
A tale of two half’s was for everyone involved in the wildcard game. Now I will admit that I have been a Bill O’Brien apologist since he got here in 2014 claiming to “see what he does with a real QB”. Well, he’s got one and I was all but ready to throw him in the fire going into half time of last week’s game. His inconsistencies in play-calling mixed with awful slow starts are alarming. The Texans can’t rely on second-half heroics from DW4 every game because this offense is good enough to put a game away early. It takes the play calls, and the execution of those calls for everything to run smooth. The one thing that continues to kill drives are penalties. Looking at you Laremy Tunsil. There’s a reason that the Texans have only score 10 points all season on opening drives and most of it is because of dumb penalties. The question here is the biggest one of all. Will BOB show up in the big games and will he have his team ready to rock come Sunday afternoon?