Houston @ Kansas City
Recommended Bet: KC -5
Cover Probability: 53.38%
Cover Edge: 1.92%
-WR Kenny Stills (hamstring) was injured week 4 and INACTIVE week 5. He’s limited in practice to start the week.
-LG Senio Kelemete (wrist) was placed on IR before week 2.
-RG Greg Mancz (concussion) was INACTIVE week 5. He is not practicing to start the week.
Kansas City Chiefs:
-QB Pat Mahomes (ankle) looked like he tweaked his ankle week 5. He finished the game and is practicing in full to start the week. He’s fine.
-WR Tyreek Hill (chest) was injured week 1. He is expected to miss 4 – 6 weeks. He was limited in practice all last week and remains limited this week.
-WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was injured week 5. He is not practicing to start the week.
-LT Eric Fisher (groin) was injured in practice the Friday before week 2 and was INACTIVE weeks 3 – 5. He is not practicing.
-LG Andrew Wylie (ankle) was injured week 5 and is not practicing to start the week.
-LB Breeland Speaks (MCL) is on IR.
-LB Anthony Hitchens (groin) was injured week 5. He is limited at practice to start the week.
-DE Alex Okafor (hip) was injured week 4 and INACTIVE week 5. He is practicing in full to start the week.
-DT Chris Jones (groin) was injured week 5. He’s likely out for week 6.
-DT Xavier Williams (ankle) was injured week 5 and is on IR.
The spread opened at a pretty absurd KC -8.5 points on Sunday night, right after Kansas City was finished losing to the Colts Sunday where it seemed like Mahomes might be bothered with an ankle injury. Earlier that day, the Texans made an absolute joke out of the Falcons (just kidding, they were already a joke) via a 53 – 32 beatdown. Early bettors flocked toward the Texans, and the line did a straight nose dive down to 5.5 points by Tuesday morning. It was 5 when the model grabbed it, and now sits at 4.5. I believe the public is overreacting to both games, and am more than happy to take the Chiefs at home.
When Houston has the ball:
QB Desaun Watson is off to another hot start, racking up 1,364 yards (8.6 yards per attempt), 69.2 completion percentage, 11 TDs, and 1 pick. He’s also averaging 5.5 yards per carry as a runner and has 3 TDs on the ground. The knock on Watson is he’s actually been far more turnover prone than his numbers would indicate — he’s fumbled 6 times already, and PFF has his “turnover worthy” play percentage at 3.9%, tells us that his 1 pick is likely misleading. When he keeps the ball off the ground and away from defenders, he’s a top quarterback in the league. For Watson, that’ll always be difficult to do as he plays behind revolving doors at offensive line and he loves to hold onto the ball (though his time in the pocket this year is down compared to previous years).
As expected, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are leading the way for the Texans pass catchers. The two collectively make up 54% of all Watson pass attempts this year. Hopkins has actually been a bit of a disappointment since week 1, racking up 40 > 67 > 41 > 88 scoreless yards in his games since. Fuller had actually had very quiet stats before going HAM on the Falcons last week, where he put up a 14/217/3 stat line. Outside of those two, the Texans have been using Kenny Stills as their third receiver when healthy, and will shift to slot receiver Keke Coutee if Stills can’t play. On the ground, the Texans have utilized Carlos Hyde in recent weeks with Duke Johnson working more on third downs. All in all, Football Outsiders ranks the Texans as the 13th best offense in football, which is probably a lot lower than most would expect.
The Chiefs defensively are a problem. They’re sitting at 21st in defensive DVOA and are again absolutely horrid against the run, where they sit at 30th. The Colts were able to exploit this by running the ball 43 (!!!) times against the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. People do seem to forget that the Chiefs were just as bad against the run last year, but very few teams are able to exploit it. When Pat Mahomes is out there dropping a 40-burger in the first half, you have to rip the run plays out of the playbook. It’s a consistent hole that very few teams are able to do anything against simply because Pat Mahomes fucks.
The Chiefs defense is better against the pass, but they lost DT Chris Jones to a groin injury last week, and he’s unlikely to suit up for this one. Jones sits at 22 pressures on the year, and that’s well ahead of Emmanuel Ogbah (14) and Frank Clark (13). I think the Chiefs will get back DE Alex Okafor for this one, but he hadn’t done much when healthy, so I don’t have my hopes up that he’ll make much of a difference. Their corners are still pretty damn bad, with the only saving grace in the secondary being S Tyrann Mathieu.
When the Chiefs have the ball:
If you’ve even glanced at this site for a second, you probably already know my thoughts on Pat Mahomes. You know Mahomes is doing absurd things when he has ex NFL QBs dumb-founded.
Mahomes did provide quite the scare to Chiefs fans everywhere when he came up limping in the 2nd quarter. Though he did finish the game, it was pretty clear the injury impacted his ability to get outside of the pocket, which is typically where he makes his most insane, how-the-fuck throws. We jumped on the Chiefs once I heard Mahomes was practicing in full on Wednesday. For those of you who aren’t losers like me that follow injuries to an insane level, it’s extremely common for starters to sit out or at least be limited at Wednesday practices. For example, DeAndre Hopkins was limited Wednesday. The reason the Texans put on the injury report? “Resting veteran.” Ron Rivera came out today and said Christian McCaffrey sitting at Wednesday’s practicing is going to be a regular thing. So yeah, you get the point — if someone who is apparently hurt practices in full on Wednesday, it’s all the news I need to hear in order to conclude that he’s totally fine.
Now, let’s get to some injuries that are actually real. Tyreek Hill has been out since week 1 with a chest injury. He got a full week of limited practice in last week and is limited to start this week. I think he’s got a shot to play on Sunday, but it’s far from a guarantee. Sammy Watkins (hamstring) is very likely to miss this one. If Hill can’t go, that leaves TE Travis Kelce, WR Demarcus Robinson, WR Mecole Hardman, and WR Byron Pringle as the top options. On the ground, Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy are essentially splitting snaps, carries, and targets. The offensive line is also carrying it’s share of injuries, with LT Eric Fisher and LG Andrew Wylie both unlikely to play. For me, as long as Mahomes is playing, I’m all in on the Chiefs offense.
The Texans defense is the same story it’s been for a few years now – front 7 is great, secondary blows. JJ Watt leads the league with 35 pressures on the year, and the Texans also have DJ Reader on the inside and Whitney Mercilus on the outside to compliment the pass rush. In coverage, they’re relying on Bradley Roby and 55 year old Jonathan Joseph — both are allowing a 100-plus QB rating when targeted. I don’t know about you, but I’m ok with Mahomes finding open receivers against these guys.
Against the run, the Texans are giving up 4.4 yards per carry, but rank 6th in run defense DVOA and 11th in PFF rankings. DI DJ REader and LB Zach Cunningham in particular have been impressive.
That’s it for now, bitches.