coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
On 10/14/2013 05:56 PM in NFL

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

The two teams that are facing off in week seven that have been difficult to predict are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. The Texans are failing to meet expectations this season and are in danger of not only missing the playoffs but losing their coach and their quarterback. On the other hand the Kansas City Chiefs are the surprise of the year and they have yet to lose a game under their new coach Andy Reid.

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Chiefs listed as (-4.5) point favorites. It is quite obvious that the betting public has given up on the Texans as over 75 percent of the early wagering action is in favor of the Chiefs at home in front of some of the best fans in football. This influx of money is causing a big line move as the point spread has already shifted and it can be found as high as (-6.5) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Texans offense is getting all the criticism but the defense is not playing too well either. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt has disappeared in recent games. He has not disrupted a single dropback in the last two games and has just 5.5 disrupted dropbacks (sack, pass defended, batted ball or interception) all season. Last season, Watt had 17.5 disrupted dropbacks in the Texans' first six games.

Meanwhile the Chiefs defense is shining. The Chiefs sacked Terrelle Pryor 10 times on Sunday, the most since Greg McElroy was sacked 11 times in Week 16 against the Chargers last year. They will be at it again this week at home against the Titans.
The latest and greatest NFL betting trends for this game should be a tool that is used before placing a bet on this game. Houston is 0-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 5 games on the road and an awful 1-6 straight up in the last six games on the NFL highway. Kansas City is 4-1 straight up in its last 5 games at home which is an improvement from the 5-11 straight up record in its last 16 games at home. The total has gone OVER in 5 of Houston's last 7 games, but the total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kansas City's last 6 games to include UNDER in 6 of Kansas City's last 7 games at home.

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Pick

With plenty of time to go before kickoff of this week, I will wait to announce my pick when we get closer to game day. Check back the day of the event for my pick on this great game.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/15/2013 03:48 PM

The Houston Texans (2-4) don't think they've played to their potential and they certainly haven't played up to the high expectations placed on the team before the season.

How do you quantify underachieving?

It's difficult. But Las Vegas betting spreads can offer a clue.

The Texans are the only team in the NFL to be winless against the spread this season, according to the website StatFox.com. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs (6-0), who the Texans will play this weekend on the road, are 5-1 against the spread. They are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the best record against the spread.

The Texans were favored to beat the San Diego Chargers by 4.5 points, but they only won by three. they were favored to beat the Tennessee Titans by nine and only won by six. The Texans were favored against the Baltimore Ravens and St. Louis Rams and lost both. They were underdogs against both the Seahawks and the 49ers, but by smaller margins than they lost.

Beating the spread means winning by a bigger margin or losing by a smaller margin than the oddsmakers expected. On the other hand, if a team is constantly on the wrong end of the spread, it means the oddsmakers expected them to be much better than they were.

On that, Vegas has company when it comes to the Texans.

Sunday's game in Kansas City will feature one team overachieving relative to what is expected of it week to week and another underachieving relative to what is expected of it week to week. What looked preseason like an easy game on the Texans schedule doesn't appear to be anymore.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/15/2013 03:50 PM

If you're a fan of what now seems like ancient history, the Kansas City Chiefs had 10 sacks in all of 2008. If you prefer your history more recent, the Chiefs sacked the opposing quarterback 27 times last season.

Either way, it's a long way to 2013. The Chiefs lead the league in sacks with 31 and they are on a pace to break the NFL record of 72 set by the Chicago Bears in 1984.

The Chiefs have a lot of ground to cover if they're to catch those Bears. Whether they get there or not, it's already been a dramatic turnaround in pass-rush fortunes.

Maybe the most interesting thing about this pass rush is that all of the key components (linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and linemen Dontari Poe and Tyson Jackson) were in place before this season. Among the 31 sacks, all but 2.5 have been delivered by players who were with the Chiefs last season.

That speaks to the schemes brought to the Chiefs by new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.

"I knew about those two (Hali and Houston)," said coach Andy Reid, who joined the Chiefs in January. "I knew they could rush the passer. Now, Dontari added into that? Somebody that can play as stout as he plays in a two-gap scheme inside and then be able to pass rush? That was another dimension I didn't expect. The push that (Tyson) Jackson gets, I didn't necessarily see that."

Houston and Hali are the engines that make the pass rush go. Houston is tied for the league lead with 9.5 and Hali is fourth with 7.5.

But even taking those two players out of the equation, the Chiefs have 14 sacks, more than many of the other NFL teams. Those sacks have been spread among eight different players. Seven different players were involved in Sunday's 10-sack game against the Oakland Raiders.

That says Sutton has a lot to choose from. Among his better options are linebacker Derrick Johnson and strong safety Eric Berry.

"I would tell you (Sutton) has a good menu to draw from," Reid said. "He had (Berry) in there. He's got a knack for that, like we had with (former Eagles safety Brian) Dawkins before. Eric Berry does the same type of thing. He's just got a nice feel for that. When you start adding in the secondary players, Akeem (Jordan) has a good feel, (Johnson) has a good feel. That's one of the better things that (Brandon) Flowers does."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/16/2013 03:06 PM

With the Chiefs getting a big chunk of their scoring from defense and special teams, Andy Reid prefers to think of it as a tribute to those unites, not a knock against his offense.

In fact, nearly a quarter of their points during a blistering 6-0 start have come from touchdowns and safeties produced by their defense and special teams. The percentage of scoring rises to 46.1 when Ryan Succop's 11 field goals are factored into Kansas City's point total.

"Listen, do you want to score more on offense? Yeah, you want to score every time you touch the football," Reid said Monday. "That's the mentality we have on that side, but I'd also tell you that the mentality on the defensive and special teams side is we want X number of touchdowns from that crew."

They've certainly accomplished that this season.

The Chiefs have scored a defensive or special teams touchdown in five straight games, including a 44-yard interception return by Husain Abdullah to cap their 24-7 win over the Raiders on Sunday.

His touchdown followed Marcus Cooper's fumble recovery of a muffed punt the previous week against Tennessee, Dexter McCluster's zigzagging 89-yard punt return for a score against the Giants, and Eric Berry's 33-yard interception return for a touchdown against Philadelphia.

Tamba Hali had a 10-yard interception return for a TD in a season-opening win over Jacksonville.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have managed only 12 touchdowns from their scuffling offense, and several of those drives covered short distances because of their defense and special teams.

"It's something we talked about from Day 1, the scoring. There's equal opportunity in all three phases," Reid said. "We wanted everybody to have their chance to score a touchdown. Those are things we have definitely talked about."

The five defensive and special teams touchdowns that the Chiefs have scored are tied for second most in the NFL since 2000 through six games, according to STATS. The only team to produce more was the 2003 version of the Chiefs, which had seven of them after six games.

Incidentally, that team led by special teamer extraordinaire Dante Hall, started 9-0 — the only one in franchise history to get off to a better start than this year's Chiefs.

"We just try to go out there and play hard for each other," Berry explained. "We try to play as a unit. We just fight to the end of the game, no matter what the score is."

The success of the Chiefs' defense, which leads the league in scoring, and special teams, which have given them the league's best starting field position, helps to mask all the troubles of the offense, which managed just 216 yards against the Raiders.

Running back Jamaal Charles had 128 of those yards. And to underscore his importance to the Chiefs, he also had both of their offensive touchdowns, and has seven of the team's 12 offensive scores this season — five on the ground and two through the air.

Alex Smith, who has earned a reputation as a game-managing quarterback, threw for just 128 yards against the Raiders. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was given a $56 million, five-year deal in the offseason, had just three catches for 46 yards — 18 of them on a broken play.

"As an offense, we have to start faster," fellow wide receiver McCluster said. "It's going to be important to get it going quicker and then maintain that throughout the game. If we can get our offense to play as well as our defense is playing right now, it's going to be great."

So far, that bar has been set pretty high. And if it never does happen, well, the Chiefs seem to be confident that their defense and special teams can continue to produce.

"The coaches believe in us," Hali said. "We remind ourselves we're out there to get our job done and we're getting our job done. Sometimes it's like, 'Wow, we scored again.' That's huge. It's the coaches. I promise. It's the same team we had last year, minus a couple of guys. We're having this much success, so it's a credit to the coaches."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/16/2013 03:07 PM

The Texans are placing veteran starting safety Danieal Manning on injured reserve after Manning suffered a hyperextended knee against the St. Louis Rams.

Manning was also going to be worked in as the Texans' kick returner. He returned one kick against the Rams. He said Monday afternoon that an MRI revealed no tears in his knee.

The Texans, 2-4, are on a four-game losing streak. They placed tight end Owen Daniels on injured reserve with a designation to return last week.

"Losing OD [Daniels], losing Danieal Manning, those are really go-to players," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We're going to miss him. He was starting to return for us. because we got healthy in the secondary. ... We're going to miss Danieal as a player and a person. ... Young guys have to step up and play more."

Houston also placed undrafted rookie cornerback A.J. Bouye on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

To fill the roster spots, the Texans signed cornerback Elbert Mack, who was in training camp with the team, and promoted inside linebacker Mike Mohamed to the active roster. Mohamed was previously on the practice squad. To fill the vacancy on the practice squad, the Texans signed cornerback Josh Victorian.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/16/2013 03:09 PM

If you want a clear delineation between wins and losses for the Houston Texans, you can find it in red-zone efficiency.

In the Texans' first two games, their only two wins this season, their offense entered the red zone seven times and scored touchdowns every single time. Since then the Texans have scored touchdowns on only 2 of 12 red-zone trips.

Of the 53 red-zone plays the Texans have run, 28 have been passes and 25 have been runs. Only 10 of those passes have been thrown into the end zone. That means 35.7 percent of the Texans' red-zone pass attempts have been thrown into the end zone, ranking them 19th in the NFL. Only 18.9 percent of the Texans' red-zone plays overall have been passes into the end zone, ranking them 17th in the NFL.

Here's what happened each week:
• In Baltimore, the Texans' first red-zone trip began with an illegal-substitution penalty on the Ravens that converted a fourth-and-4 and took the Texans to the Ravens' 18-yard line. Then came a 10-yard Arian Foster run, followed by a run for negative yardage and two incomplete passes. Their next red-zone trip also was aided by a Baltimore penalty. Once inside came a 4-yard run, a 3-yard run and then a pass for negative yardage before the field goal.

• Against the Seahawks, the Texans' first red-zone trip ended in a Matt Schaub interception. Their second resulted in a touchdown and their third a field goal. That field goal came on a drive that began at Seattle's 19-yard line. Schaub threw four passes and completed one of them. Foster ran twice for a total of 7 yards.

• The one and only red-zone trip against the 49ers ended in a missed 45-yard field goal. The drive had stalled because of a holding penalty on Owen Daniels. That knocked the Texans to a third-and-11. Then Daniels false-started, and the ensuing third-and-16 was too much for Houston to overcome.

• Of the Texans' six red-zone trips against the Rams, four came when the Texans were already down by 25. Two ended in T.J. Yates interceptions, one ended in a touchdown and the last ended with the end of the game. The Texans' two first-half red-zone trips ended in field goals. The first stalled with a third-down false-start penalty on right tackle Derek Newton, then a 7-yard pass on third-and-9.

Getting there is the first challenge, but the lack of red-zone productivity explains why the Texans' offensive yards per game ranks seventh in the league, but their points per game rank 26th.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/17/2013 11:14 AM

The most opportunistic defense in the NFL and strong special teams have allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to overcome a mediocre offense for the second-best start in team history.

The Houston Texans haven't been quite as fortunate, with a glaring turnover problem weighing down its league-best defense and otherwise quality offense.

Kansas City (6-0) will look to capitalize on those issues Sunday when it hosts Houston, which will have to overcome a murky quarterback situation to avoid its first five-game losing streak in nearly eight years.

Defense and special teams have accounted for 46.1 percent of the Chiefs' points, including five touchdowns. The 2003 Chiefs had seven TDs from the defense and special teams in their first six wins during a 9-0 start, the only one in team history better than this year's.

Husain Abdullah's 44-yard interception return for a score with 1:35 left helped seal a 24-7 home victory over Oakland on Sunday.

"It's something we talked about from Day 1, the scoring. There's equal opportunity in all three phases," coach Andy Reid said. "We wanted everybody to have their chance to score a touchdown."

Houston (2-4) isn't nearly as upbeat despite allowing 252.8 yards per game, easily the best mark in the NFL. The Texans' offense is averaging 395.7 yards, seventh most in the league, but they're scoring 17.7 points per game - the seventh-lowest mark.

A minus-12 turnover differential has been a big reason for that, as only the winless New York Giants at minus-16 are worse.

The Texans have committed 12 turnovers during their four-game slide. They haven't lost five in a row since a six-game skid Nov. 6-Dec. 11, 2005.

"Turnovers get you beat in this league and they're getting us beat on a consistent basis," said coach Gary Kubiak, who won division titles the last two years but may be on the hot seat with a 4-8 record since an 11-1 start last season.

After throwing nine interceptions in the previous five games, Matt Schaub was finally turnover-free in a 38-13 home loss to St. Louis on Sunday. It's uncertain, though, whether he'll be able to play after leaving last week's game with a lower leg injury suffered on a third-quarter sack.

Kubiak said both T.J. Yates and Case Keenum will be prepared in practice this week to start in the event Schaub can't play. Yates was 12 of 17 for 98 yards in relief of Schaub, but was picked off twice and sacked twice in just over a quarter of play. Kansas City leads the league with 31 sacks.

This matchup features the two leading rushers in the AFC, with Houston's Arian Foster running for 341 yards in the past three games to push his season total to a conference-best 531.

Jamaal Charles, second in the league with 129.2 scrimmage yards per game behind Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy (145.2), has accounted for seven of Kansas City's 12 offensive TDs. He was leaned on heavily again versus the Raiders, recording 128 of the team's 216 total yards.

The Chiefs' 326.3 yards-per-game average ranks 25th in the NFL, and Alex Smith is 32nd with 6.16 yards per passing attempt.

"If we can get our offense to play as well as our defense is playing right now, it's going to be great," receiver Dexter McCluster said.

Former Pro Bowler Dwayne Bowe has disappointed thus far with 20 receptions for 229 yards and two TDs. However, he caught six passes for 108 yards and two scores in the teams' last meeting, a 35-31 Texans home win Oct. 17, 2010.

Andre Johnson caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Schaub with 28 seconds remaining to cap a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback, which gave Houston a 3-2 series advantage. Johnson has averaged 105.6 receiving yards with four TDs in five career games against Kansas City.

Arrowhead Stadium - which set a Guinness World Record for loudest outdoor sports stadium in Sunday's game with the crowd reaching 137.5 decibels - could prove a hindrance for whoever starts at QB for Houston.

The Raiders were whistled for three false starts and three delay-of-game penalties, and the Texans have been penalized for more yardage than any other team with 459.

Houston announced Wednesday it will be without starting safety Danieal Manning for the rest of the year due to a right knee injury suffered Sunday. Third-year player Shiloh Keo will take his place.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/18/2013 03:42 PM

The best way for the Kansas City Chiefs to grow their offense is to develop threats other than running back Jamaal Charles. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and slot receiver Dexter McCluster immediately leap to mind.

But the Chiefs plan to try to squeeze even more from Charles, who leads the team in rushing, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.

“I don’t think so,’’ offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said when asked whether or not the Chiefs were getting about all they could from Charles. “He’s a guy that steadily wants a little more each week, a little more responsibility. The more he gets comfortable with our system and what we’re asking him to do, then we can put a little bit more on his plate.

“He’s so explosive and we want to be able to utilize him more in that fashion and create matchups in our favor.

The 6-0 Chiefs, tied for first place in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos, shouldn’t lessen their demands on Charles. He’s their most reliable offensive threat and if the Chiefs are to eventually make what they’d like to of this season, Charles has to be a huge part.

For him to be that, the Chiefs need to keep him healthy. This will be his first full week of practice in some time, though that’s not necessarily the best indication of his physical condition.

“Practice really doesn’t matter,’’ he said. “You’ve got to suit up on Sunday.’’

The Chiefs have at least 10 more of those Sunday games. The best way for the Chiefs to make sure Charles in their lineup for all of them is to get what they’re getting from Charles and grow the offense elsewhere.

The Chiefs re-signed Bowe this year for five years and $56 million but with just 20 catches, 229 yards and two touchdowns he’s on pace for his worst NFL season. New coach Andy Reid, Pederson and the rest of the offensive staff were excited about working with a player of McCluster’s potential, but he has just 12 catches.

But instead of talking about getting more from those players, they’re going to ask more from Charles. That’s a risky strategy.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/18/2013 03:43 PM

Looking for a spark, the Houston Texans have turned to a hometown hero.

Case Keenum will start at quarterback Sunday against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans (2-4) have lost four in a row.

Coach Gary Kubiak announced his decision after ruling out Matt Schaub, who is recovering from an ankle and foot injury.

"We're struggling, and we're looking for a spark," Kubiak said. "I think he deserves an opportunity to go out there. It's a tough place to play. It's a tough place to get your first start and all that good stuff. But I'm not sending him out there by himself. I'm sending him out there with his football team, and the guys understand that."

Keenum began the season as the Texans' third-string quarterback. He has been inactive for the first six games of the season, and backup T.J. Yates went into the Week 6 game against the St. Louis Rams in the third quarter after Schaub was injured.

"It is real," Keenum said. "I have to pinch myself every now and then. It's exciting. It's what I want. It's what I've wanted for a long time."

Keenum spent six seasons at the University of Houston. He had one redshirt year to start then tore his ACL early in his senior year and took a medical redshirt. He returned the following year and led the Cougars to an undefeated regular season, which earned the team a top-10 ranking. Houston lost in the Conference USA championship game to Southern Miss.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0
coleryan Posts:14511 Followers:21
10/19/2013 12:22 AM

Case Keenum will start at quarterback for the Texans with Matt Schaub (ankle, foot) out of the lineup. Linebacker Tim Dobbins (hamstring) is also out and the Texans listed 15 players as probable.

The Chiefs have a slew of probables as well, including cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and tackle Branden Albert (knee, elbow), and safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) is questionable.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-4-0