On occasion, BWD will pay tribute to the teams who don’t get as much love as they should. This Mammoth Match of the Weekend is a prime example.
The Houston Texans are fun to watch, mainly because of their NBA approach to games: a bombs-away offense and a severe deficiency of defense. The Kansas City Chiefs, meanwhile, are inexplicably 3-1 and are the AFC West’s best team – which, in all fairness, is like Steinbeck’s worst novel. Regardless, Chiefs versus Texans (1:00 p.m., ABC) offers the most intrigue this weekend. The breakdown:
Granted, neither Matt Cassel nor Matt Schaub has looked particularly fetching in 2010. But, BWD asks: who are you more afraid of? (Hint: there’s a right answer, here.)
According to numerous reports, Arian Foster’s knee isn’t a significant enough malady to keep him off the field on Sunday. Foster leads the NFL in rushing with 564 yards and boats a robust 5.8 yards per carry. He’ll face some stalwart competition in the surprisingly good Kansas City rush defense, though, who are allowing a paltry 80.5 yards per game. This is the game where Foster can prove his legitimacy as a stud. In the meantime, BWD really likes the ground duo of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Anyone see the heinous play of Dwayne Bowe against the Colts? That even made Todd Pinkston blush. Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki are an exciting rookie duo, and they’ll see their share touches on Sunday. But can you really bet against Andre Johnson, even mired in somewhat of a slump?
Kevin Walter has been an underrated number two receiver for far too long; the man’s ability to run precise routes is downright Rice-ian. If the Chiefs’ secondary swarm Johnson, look for Schaub to connect with Walter all game long.
Chiefs’ LT Brandon Albert has yet to draw a penalty or allow a sack all year. His stellar play has been indicative of the superior protection KC’s o-line has given Cassel, who has been sacked only three times this year (hits: 14). If you’re still perplexed that the Chiefs are 3-1, their offensive line is at least partly responsible.
In terms of generating pass rush, the Texans and Chiefs are fairly equal. The Hog Index has Kansas City’s front ranked seventh in the NFL, thanks to their third-ranked 3.19 yards per (rushing) attempt. That’s impressive, but the Chiefs don’t have Mario Williams, who is emerging into the league’s most formidable defensive ends. BWD would love to see more production from Amobi Okoye, though; after a striking rookie campaign, the former first-round pick out of Lousiville has been lackluster, if not forgettable. If Okoye plays anywhere near his potential, the Texans’ defensive front could induce nervous gulps from offensive line coaches for a long time.
The switch to the 3-4 has been extremely beneficial for Kansas City this season. Tamba Hali in particular has embraced the shift from defensive end to outside linebacker, posting 4.5 sacks thus far. Common sense has the edge going to Demeco Ryans and Brian Cushing; yet BWD is far from sensible. Kansas City’s middle four are playing too well to bet against.
Houston is giving up a frightening 329.6 yards per game through the air, good for dead last in the NFL. BWD’s fascinating conclusion: that’s not that good. According to multiple sources, Matt Cassel will sleep like a baby tonight.
Dexter McCluster will make an impact on this game, and special teams may very well be his vehicle to do so.
Irrefutable Bottom Line: Texans 23, Chiefs 17
The Texans’ offense is now is a two-edged sword, thanks to Foster, and will overpower the Chiefs’ resistance. BWD likes the fight in KC, but we fear Schaub and Johnson more.
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