The Kansas City Chiefs are 4-0 and are the lone unbeaten team in the NFL. After a hard fought, come-from-behind win on Monday night against the Washington Redskins, Andy Reid’s crew now heads to Houston to take on rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and the 2-2 Houston Texans. Here are the week five Kansas City Chiefs keys to victory.
Week Five Kansas City Chiefs Keys to Victory
Contain Deshaun Watson
When the Kansas City Chiefs moved up 17 spots in the NFL Draft and selected Patrick Mahomes with the tenth overall pick, many people thought the jump was made for Deshaun Watson. That obviously was not the case, and Watson was taken by the Houston Texans, two picks after Mahomes. It did not take long for the Texans to pull their original starter and play Watson, doing so in the second half of the first game of the season. Since then, Watson has shown that it was the best choice for the franchise’s future.
Watson has shown playmaking ability similar to Russell Wilson. The way Watson is able to allude defenders in the pocket and extend plays has allowed the Texans offense to put up numbers they have never reached before. While his individual numbers are not necessarily all that impressive (seven touchdowns on the season with four of those coming in the blowout game last week, plus four interceptions), Watson has done enough to help the Texans to a 2-2 record.
The Chiefs will need to be sure to not lose contain on Watson this weekend. Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Frank Zombo (Dee Ford will not play this weekend) will need to be ready for anything that gets Watson outside of the pocket whether by design or breakdown. Keeping Watson in check will be the best shot at keeping a perfect record this season.
Offensive Line Play
The Chiefs offensive line may be the most important unit on the field this weekend, which is worrisome considering they will be without at least two starters this weekend. The Chiefs have already ruled center Mitch Morse and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif out for this weekend’s game. The good news is that former starting left guard Parker Ehinger may be available, which would be a big boost to the teams left side of the line.
The Texans are generally known for their pass rushing, but that has fallen off a tad this year. Through four games and 111 passing attempts, the Texans have 10 sacks on the year. It will be necessary to hold off J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus this weekend if the Chiefs want to score points this weekend.
The Chiefs have the potential Rookie of the Year in their backfield. Kareem Hunt is the league leading rusher after four weeks, and Kansas City needs to utilize him to their fullest this weekend. In last years loss to the Texans, the Chiefs leading rusher only gained 61 yards on the ground. This attributed to a poor passing day from Alex Smith, throwing for just 186 yards. If the offensive line is able to open up holes for Hunt, the passing lanes for Smith to throw on should open as well. If they can get a ground game going, Travis Kelce should be able to have a pretty big day against an average Texans secondary.
The Texans showed last weekend that they are a team that feeds off of momentum and emotion from the crowd. Once the game got out of control, the entire team played more loosely and with a bit of a swagger. The Chiefs cannot afford to let the Texans get big plays and keep the crowd at NRG Stadium in to the game.
This would be the perfect weekend for a punt or kick return for a touchdown on the fast turf of an inside stadium. A tone setting opening kickoff, like the one that opened the playoffs two years ago, would be a great start to a Sunday night game.