We’re ramping up for the season opener tonight with our game preview for the Texans versus the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs!
We’ve finally made it. After what seems like a decade, we’ve made it from the Super Bowl, all the way to the 2020 season, partway through a pandemic the likes of which the world has never seen before. I’ll be honest, I never thought we’d see the start of the season myself, Goodell and the league preferred sitting on their hands for much of the early summer. However, against all odds, players have gone through a shortened training camp and positive tests among NFL personnel are under 1% of all tests carried out. Whether that will last through the entire 2020 season is another issue, but we’ll deal with that as and when we come to it.
Without further ado, welcome to the first game preview of the season, looking deeply into the Chiefs and the Texans to see if we can pick them apart and give you some insight to help you with betting, fantasy or just your general enjoyment of the game. For us in the UK, it’s an early/late one with the game kicking off at 1.20 am Friday morning. Let’s get into it!
Kansas City Chiefs
What an offseason for the reigning Super Bowl champs. They gave Patrick Mahomes, the best player in the NFL, a 10-year deal, ripped up Chris Jones franchise tag and gave him four more years and they compensated Travis Kelce fairly all while supposedly only having $177 in cap space before these moves. That is also why they re-signed GM Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid to matching six-year extensions, oh and of course that Super Bowl win played a part.
This season, it’s all about continuity for KC as they return the majority of their team from a very successful season in 2019, not something that happens often. They might be a little thin in the secondary and at linebacker, but outside of those positions, the Chiefs are stacked. At QB Mahomes returns and we don’t need to say much about him. Damien Williams will be missing the season after opting out due to COVID-19, however, they drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round out of LSU and he looks primed for a monster rookie year. At WR, the team has a trio of speedsters in Hill, Watkins and Hardman. Kelce might be getting older but he got paid and he is still one of the top tight ends in the entire NFL. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out leaving a hole but other than that they have stability and return a solid offensive line, captained by Mitchell Schwartz.
On the defensive side of the ball, Chris Jones and Frank Clark lead a dangerous line that loves to pin their ears back and get after opposing QBs as they try to chase down the Chiefs offence by passing the ball. At linebacker, they have the overpaid Anthony Hitchens and they drafted Willie Gay but outside of those two, they don’t really have anyone. In the secondary, Ward and Breeland aren’t bad starting cornerbacks but they will get burned more often than you would like. Mathieu at safety is the key player here, he can cause so much disruption and mess with the opponent so much that he impacts the rest of the defence positively.
It’s a different story for the Texans as they faced an offseason of change, at least on offence. Billy O acting as the de facto GM and head coach decided to trade away one of the top three receivers in the league for a second-round pick and a running back who has disappointed roughly 90 million fantasy players over the past three years. He then brought in Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb as if that would make up for the loss and you just start to wonder why would Deshaun Watson want to re-sign with the Texans at all? Like the Chiefs, Houston has their own superstar at QB, although he might not quite be at Mahomes level, no one is. Watson has had some amazing moments in his short career and he is turning into the player the Bears wish they had drafted at No. 2.
On offence, as we said, they have nothing to worry about at QB as Watson should hopefully take another step and be even more elite than he already is. With David Johnson coming in, we don’t really know what to expect. But you can be damn sure Billy O will be putting him out there on the field spending that much to get him. Don’t put your chips on Duke Johnson, as much as I love him, he will waste away on the bench once again in 2020. Will Fuller could have a better season than Hopkins if he would just stay healthy. He’s a burner and an incredible player but he just isn’t available enough. You could say the same about Brandin Cooks with his concussion issues and then you’re left with Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb. They don’t really have much at tight end but it seems Jordan Akins and Darren Fells somehow get the job done for them there. The offensive line isn’t amazing but they just shelled out a king’s ransom to Laremy Tunsil so they’d better hope he doesn’t lead all tackles in penalties again this season.
J.J. Watt is still in Houston after a heroic effort to come back for the playoffs last season after tearing his pectoral muscle early on. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much help on the defensive line but hopefully, Whitney Merciless can get back to his old ways and have a better year after getting paid. The Texans don’t have many actual linebackers but they just paid Zach Cunningham big money because he is a rising star in the middle for them. Bradley Roby returns with Gareon Conley lining up at the other corner spot which I don’t hate, there are lots of teams with a lot less but hopefully, Conley sees improvement this season. At safety, they have the underrated Justin Reid who I think we will see a big jump up from this season.
How it plays out
Well, I think this one is a shootout, two high powered offences that will still be healthy (important for the Texans) and I think this will be an exciting season opener. While the secondaries aren’t awful, they can be exploited by these elite QB WR pairings and I think it could get ugly fast. Ultimately, you always like Mahomes and the Chiefs to win in these situations but the Texans could keep it close with some big games from their big names.
That just about wraps up our first game preview between the Chiefs and the Texans, give me any suggestions for things you want to see in future previews, what you think of my opinions and what you think of this game in the comments!
Can’t leave you without a prediction that’ll be horrifically wrong: CHIEFS 38 – 31 TEXANS
Look out for more previews and a huge amount of content for NFL this season from Gridiron Hub!