Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackThe Texans are enduring a nightmarish first half of the season, and much of it is on Matt Schaub. The Texans’ quarterback has been vulnerable to the pick-six, and while he did not throw one against the Rams in Week Six, backup T.J. Yates did after Schaub went out of the game with a leg injury. Either quarterback will be in tough against the hard-charging Chiefs.Alex Smith has proven to be a solid game manager for head coach Andy Reid, but what happens when the Chiefs have to engage a multifaceted team and they must mount back-to-back TD drives to stay in the game? Smith is not going to hurt the Chiefs, but you have to wonder if he can make enough big plays to compete with the Denver Broncos.
- OffenseThe Texans have the kind of weapons on their team that should make them formidable, but they simply don’t make enough big plays. Arian Foster has rushed for 531 yards and his ability to cut back makes him an excellent runner. Andre Johnson has slowed down a step, but he is still a big-time receiver who can win the battle. Secondary receiver DeAndre Hopkins is not afraid to go over the middle.The Chiefs have a versatile offense and the speed and explosiveness of Jamaal Charles gives them an excellent option when they want to keep the ball on the ground. He has five rushing touchdowns. The Chiefs don’t have star receivers but Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster and tight end Sean McGrath are solid. Dwayne Bowe is overrated and uninspired.
- DefenseThe stats don’t tell the real story because the 2-4 Texans rank first in overall defense. However, they have not played consistently when the game is on the line. Defensive end J.J. Watt has 28 tackles and 3.5 sacks, but he is clearly frustrated with the state of the team. Linebacker Brian Cushing roams sideline to sideline and has 44 tackles, while linebacker Whitey Mercilus has 25 tackles and 4.5 sacks.The Chiefs may have some issues with their offense, but their defense has been overpowering. They can put overpowering pressure on opposing quarterbacks and they had 10 sacks in their 24-7 win over the Raiders. Nobody was better than Tamba Hali, who was credited with 3.5 sacks. Middle linebacker Derrick Johnson was a beast with a team-high eight tackles and he also had a sack.
- Special TeamsThe Texans have struggled badly on special teams for the last two years, and their coverage teams will have their hands filled with the Chiefs. Randy Bullock looks like a below-average kicker, as he is 9-of-14 on FG attempts and 0-of-3 on attempts of 50 yards or longer.The Chiefs' special teams have been exceptional and should be able to take advantage of the Texans. McCluster has already returned one punt for a touchdown, while Quintin Demps has a 57-yard kickoff return to his credit. Ryan Succop has made 11-of-13 FG attempts.
The Chiefs are rolling and they catch the Texans at the right time because of uncertainty at the quarterback position. Look for the Chiefs to pressure the Houston quarterback and force two or three turnovers. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor