Houston Texans: Staff predictions vs. Kansas City

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Dec 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) reacts with cornerback Kareem Jackson (25) during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Childers, Staff Writer

Prediction: The Kansas City offense is hoping to have a new look this year, primarily due to the addition of former Eagles star Jeremy Maclin. Jamaal Charles will be good (as always) and Alex Smith is a reliable quarterback even if he’s not the most flashy. On defense, the Chiefs hope to once again have one of the league’s top units, and are healthier than they’ve been for awhile.

Houston will likely struggle to move the ball in their first game under Brian Hoyer, but I think Alfred Blue will be much better than many expect. He should have a big game in relief of the injured Arian Foster, and Brian Hoyer will make a few key plays that make a huge difference in the end.

Houston’s defense may be the best in the NFL this season, and Watt should put plenty of pressure on Alex Smith, especially if Jadeveon Clowney can make an impact in his first game to play after having several knee surgeries last season. Jamaal Charles can only do so much, and I think Maclin’s Kansas City debut will be a disappointing loss in Houston, albeit a close one. Houston should start the season 1-0 with a close win against the Chiefs.

Final score: Houston 17, Kansas City 13