Finally, finally its back! There was a time I thought we might not have this day and certainly not on schedule but here we are and the World Champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the Houston Texans at Arrowhead, what a shame the place wont be packed to the rafters with Chief fans making more noise than a heard of elephants (this I’m almost positive Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense is happy about!)
Let’s talk about the contrasting off-seasons these two teams had and lets start with the Chiefs, after winning the Super Bowl they re-signed the best QB in the game to a 10 year, half a billion dollar contract whilst also finding the money to re-up start Defensive Lineman, Chris Jones. These positive moves were preceded by the Chiefs selecting LSU Running Back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the very last pick of the first round, Edwards-Helaire was the #1 RB on my 2020 Draft Big Board and a perfect fit in this Chiefs offense, his skills as a pass catcher and elusiveness once in space give Patrick Mahomes yet another weapon in an offense which returns all of its explosive pass catchers from last year, that’s a scary proposition for the other 31 NFL teams. On the other end of the spectrum the Texans decided to trade away their best skill position player and top 5 Wide Receiver, DeAndre ‘Nuk’ Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for Running Back, David Johnson and a 2nd round draft pick, this is the equivalent of you trading your mobile phone for a pager and £2.50, this of course caused outrage from Texan fans and ridicule from everybody else and whilst I agree the compensation for such a player was ridiculous, the Texans were never going to pay Hopkins what he wanted (Hopkins and the Cardinals agreed on a 2 year $54.5m contract which at $27.25m per year is the most ever given to a non QB) and didn’t want a disgruntled star on their books, but it has left them in a precarious position at Wide Receiver, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb have been brought in to try and replace Hopkins and some of his 104 receptions but adding these two with incumbent starter, Will Fuller leaves the Texans with a WR trio who have all struggled with injury and have missed a lot of time throughout their career especially projected top two options, Fuller and Cooks add this to the fact David Johnson hasn’t been the picture of health throughout his career and it could me Deshaun Watson doing a lot of the work himself this year and talking of Deshaun Watson the Texans paid up and tied him down to a 4 year, $177.5m contract extension (anddddd that’s why they were never paying Nuk!)
Let’s get to the matchup, we witnessed this exact matchup twice last year once in the regular season which saw the Texans get the better of the Chiefs but in the playoffs the Chiefs fought back from a 21-0 first quarter deficit to ultimately win the game by 20 points and that’s something only this Chief offense can do, they came from behind in every post season game last year including the Super Bowl and teams going up big on ‘em isn’t going to worry them. In their first matchup the Texans used their run game to eat the clock and keep Mahomes off the field as well as wear down an already suspect run defense but the loss of between the tackle thumper, Carlos Hyde could make that harder for the Texans to achieve although I still expect them to have at least some success on the ground. I have no idea how the Texans plan to stop this Chief offense, short of hoping JJ Watt gets home and sacks Mahomes 4+ time but with Mitchell Schwartz protecting him I don’t see that happening. What I do see happening Is Mahomes and the Chiefs bombarding the Texans through the air on their way to a comfortable W, the first of many this year for the team I backed in the off-season last year to hoist the Lombardi and I’m taking them as my pick to go back to back and win it again this year.
Let’s get into the betting for tonight and look I’m not going to give you the Chiefs outright at 2/9 as a tip! I like some of the under / over totals for Mahomes passing and Tyreek Hill receiving but for the most part the bookies seem to be on or around the number so we’re going to keep it simple tonight and not get too excited because the NFL Is finally back. Remember that porous run defense the Chiefs have that I was talking about earlier? Well they haven’t done much to fix it ending up as the 26th overall run defense last year and if there’s one thing Texans have done well since Bill O’Brien has taken charge its run the ball, his team were a top 10 rushing offense last year and whilst David Johnson isn’t the between tackles banger Carlos Hyde is, he is definitely an upgrade at the position and with a point to prove after being ridiculed for his part in the DeAndre Hopkins trade I like him to find his way into the end zone tonight.
PREDICTION: CHIEFS 35 – 24 TEXANS
BEST BET: DAVID JOHNSON ANYTIME TD – 15/8