“Shorestein Says” 2019 NFL Week 6 Pick
Houston @ Kansas City -4.5: I think you’ve got a classic over reaction game here. Kansas City was embarrassed on Sunday Night by a very tough Indianapolis running game. They were completely overpowered by one of the best offensive lines in the NFL which allowed the Colts to control the game from the start. It also didn’t help that Mahomes was noticeably slowed down when he tweaked his ankle later in the game. On the other hand, Houston had an offensive explosion against an awful Atlanta defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone. These combined factors have made for an intriguing buying opportunity on an elite team at home favored by less than a touchdown.
You’ll hear a lot this week about the Chiefs awful run defense. They’re close to the bottom at about 5.3 yards per carry and the narrative that’s out there is that they “Can’t stop anyone!”. But just remember that the Chiefs couldn’t stop the run last year either, they let up about 4.9 yards per carry on the whole season last year, and they still blew teams out on a regular basis. This defense is built to play with a lead. They have pass rushers and risk takers in the secondary to force turnovers and are used to opposing teams trying to match scores. The key statistics for a high-flying offense like this are passer rating defense, red zone efficiency, and turnovers forced. They’ve been better than they were last year in each of these categories:
Do your best to ignore all the trashing of the KC defense this week and try to remember how dominant the offense has been at home.
Matchup wise, the Texans have run the ball relatively well, but their attempts per game are down at only about 25 times per game, which ranks them middle of the pack. The Colts and Lions, who gave the Chiefs major problems, were much committed to the run. The Texans also do not have the offensive line that can establish tone like Indy does. The Chiefs slow start added to these problems, but I don’t think that can be counted on for a 3rd consecutive game.
Bill O’Brien is not the coach I want when the hype starts to build and the competition gets tough. He has not delivered in these big spots. It would not surprise me at all to see Houston come out with a pass happy game plan that isn’t centered around the Chiefs defensive weaknesses.
Lastly, it is likely that Tyreek Hill will make his return this week. He is the most explosive player in the NFL, and his speed can change the game at any moment. I’d also expect the Chiefs to run more in this game as well. The offense only attempted 11 running plays on Sunday night, and they got into way too many 3rd and longs which uncharacteristically killed drives. Andy Reid knows how to coach offense so I’d expect a better game plan. He’s had incredible success against this very Texan defense in the past.
Injuries: The Chiefs are banged up on the offensive line, but as long as Mahomes is relatively mobile I think they will be fine. They will also likely be without Chris Jones on defense, but I think they have enough pass rushers to fill in around him for this much needed home game.