The unbeaten Chiefs (6-0) currently tied with Denver atop the AFC West may have not been winning pretty as of late, or for that matter all season long. However when you sport one of the league's more intimidating dominanting defense and combine it with fundamental special teams the main objective is to keep pace. The Chiefs will look to capitalize on their offensive consistency Sunday when it hosts Houston (2-4), which will have to overcome a murky quarterback situation to avoid its first five-game losing streak in nearly 8 years.
Kansas City has scored 5 TD's this season courtesy of their defense and special teams. 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. On offense, The Chiefs' 326.3 yards-per-game average ranks 25th in the NFL. Alex Smith (122/216 1330 7 TD 3 INT) has been nothing short of efficient, however the passing game has been conservative averaging just barely over 6 yards per completion. Their leading rusher Jamaal Charles (114-475 4.2 5 TD) also leads the team in receptions (33-300 2 TD) and uses blazing speed up the middle along with the ability to make his presence felt in the open field. Former Pro Bowler Dwayne Bowe (20-229 2 TD) and Donnie Avery (18-310 1 TD) will need to take advantage of Houston's secondary and get more involved especially when the Chiefs face stiffer competition down the road. Lucky for Smith, while completing only 57% of his passes he has made few mistakes under center and has the ability to scramble (37-190 5.1) out of situations down the field in situations where his receivers are covered. Houston announced earlier in the week it will be without starting safety Danieal Manning for the rest of the year due to a right knee injury suffered Sunday in the loss to St. Louis.
Houston isn't nearly as upbeat despite allowing 252.8 yards per game, easily the best mark in the NFL. While the Texans' offense is averaging 395.7 yards, seventh most in the league, they're only scoring 17.7 points per game which is seventh lowest. The Texans have committed 12 turnovers during their four-game slide. After throwing 9 interceptions in the previous 5 games, Matt Schaub (150/233 1552 8 TD 9 INT) was finally turnover-free in a 38-13 home loss to St. Louis on Sunday. Schaub however will not play after leaving last week's game with a lower leg injury suffered on a third-quarter sack. That means it's likely that Casey Keenum will get the start. TJ 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 including 10 against Oakland in week 6.
Andre Johnson (44-495) leads Houston in the receiving core but has so far been unable to find the end zone thus far. DeAndre Hopkins (25-340 1 TD) and Arian Foster (22-183 2 TD) will get their chances, but may have to run successful routes to give Keenum a chance to excel in the passing game. Owen Daniels (24-252 3 TD) will miss the next 2 months with a fractured fibula. Foster (117-531 4.5 1 TD) like Charles is one of the more versatile duo backs in the game but must rely on his offensive line to create opportunities in the ground attack. The Texans will be double challenged in the passing game with Keenum making his first career start coupled with a fast secondary and strong front seven. Eric Berry has become one of the best safeties in the league. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are a terrific tandem when it comes to getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Derrick Johnson leads the team with 39 tackles from his linebacker position.
It will be tough to see if Keenum can rescue the reeling Texans from their losing ways now that the status of Schaub is virtually shut down until further notice. Johnson may need to have a breakout game and the only way for Houston to stay close is to try and speed up the game. While it's tough to move the ball on the Chiefs, they have so much ability to make plays leading to opportunities for Smith and company. If Charles has a good game it won't take much more for Smith to be efficient at best which means the defense will take care of the rest.