Houston Texans: How they defeat the Kansas City Chiefs


The Houston Texans season begins this Sunday as they host the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that finished the 2014 NFL season with a record of 9-7, just as the Texans did. Also like the Texans, the Chiefs were forced to watch the playoffs from home despite the winning record.

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Obviously one win or loss won’t make or break an NFL season, but finding a way to get a win at home against another playoff contender would be an ideal start to the 2015 campaign as Houston looks to get over the hump and find themselves alive come playoff time.

Head coach Bill O’Brien re-tooled the offense during the offseason as they come in now with a new starting quarterback in Brian Hoyer and a couple of new receivers playing big roles in Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts III.

The defense was not immune to change either as they also received some overhaul. The team brought in two new starting safeties in Quintin Demps and Rahim Moore. Also new to the starting lineup is nose tackle Vince Wilfork, the big free agent signing from the New England Patriots.

The team also drafted cornerback Kevin Johnson in round one and linebacker Bernardrick McKinney in round two as they look to make the strength of the team, the defense, even more of a threat to opponents.

So with all the new pieces on place, how do the Texans come away from this matchup 1-0?

First, they need to trust Brian Hoyer. I know it sounds tough for some of us, but the fact is Hoyer looked very competent in the preseason as he commanded the huddle and moved the ball at ease the two games he started. His passes looked sharp and his decisions came quick.

To beat the Chiefs Hoyer will need to play his best game and trust his arm. Spreading out the defense and utilizing all the weapons at receiver is a must.

Second, they have to make Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith uncomfortable. That means players besides J.J. Watt need to be in the backfield as quick as possible. Watt will do his part, now it is time to see if fellow defensive end Jared Crick can take that next step and get some pressure as well.

Third, the middle linebackers and safeties need to keep an eye on tight end Travis Kelce all game. Kelce is a big target and is very explosive. If he gets rolling he will be hard to stop.

I know they also have Jeremy Maclin at receiver to contend with, but the corners will battle him all game and this will be a win some, lose some contest where Maclin will have a good game.

Also they have running back Jamaal Charles, who will also get his, that is a given. Then there is Kelce, and he could be even more dangerous if continually gets free in the middle of the field which would make things even easier for guys like Maclin and Chalres to carve up the defense.

Lastly, special teams. De’Anthony Thomas and Knile Davis are beasts in the return game. Thomas averaged 11.9 yards on punt returns and 30.6 on kick returns. Davis had 28.6 yards per kick return as the primary return man on kickoffs.

The Texans conversely were bad on coverage units in 2014. With several new young guys looking to make their mark on this team, this game and the two special teams aces for Kansas City present the perfect opportunity to prove their special teams fortunes could reverse this season.

It is all easier aid than done, but allowing Hoyer to open up the playbook, focusing on keeping Kelce from going off and winning special teams would go a long way to getting the win come Sunday.