“Dear Ryan”

AFC Divisional Playoff 

(4) Houston Texans at (2) Kansas City Chiefs 

Texans: That was a gutsy win on Wild Card weekend. When I saw they were down 16-0, I said to myself it’s the same issue from them every year they make the playoffs. They win the division, host a home playoff game and usually end up going home. That wasn’t the case for the Houston Texans on Saturday. Deshaun Watson took over. He said “let me put this team on my back. It’ll end with me”. Watching him, I got flashes of “Clemson Deshaun”. Back in his collegiate days, it seemed as if there was never a stage too big or lights too bright for number four. When his team needed him to deliver, he answered the call. The game of football truly is a tale of two halves. It’s also a game that thrives on momentum. Speaking of that M word, it truly shifted to the Texans in the second half. I truly wasn’t expecting to see J.J. Watt again this year after he suffered the torn pectoral muscle. He may not be the guy that won the three defensive MVP’s in five years, but he still has a tremendous impact not just on the defense, but the entire team. He’s their heart and soul. When he got a sack of Josh Allen, that entire team thrived off his energy. I’ve been critical of how they’re able to start. They really showed some fight to bounce back how they did. The Texans are in the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 season. They’ll look for their first AFC title game appearance in franchise history. To get there, they’ll have a rematch with a team they saw in the regular season.

Chiefs: After watching them closely, this years’ Kansas City Chiefs remind me a lot of the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. I can explain. Just like that Indy team, the Chiefs have a strong offense, an MVP quarterback and they’re well-coached. What’s been the issue with the Chiefs that many felt were holding them back? Their defense! Just like it was for those Colts I mentioned! That Indy team was able to get their defense right when they needed too. I can say the same about these Chiefs as well. It was looking sloppy for a large portion of the year. Then, I saw a change when they faced the Los Angeles Chargers on a Monday night. I saw a much better effort, a consistent pass rush that didn’t involve blitzing and tackles in the open field. They’ve been able to peak at the right time. Tyrann Mathieu is their version of Bob Sanders. He’s made all the difference. For the last year or so, I’ve stated that the quarterback and offense were always bailing the defense out. They also had to sustain long drives because the defense at one time was unable to get off the field. Now, I’m seeing more of the defense handling business for the offense. This isn’t just an offensive team. They’re an all-around team that has shown they can play multiple styles of football to win games. They’re aiming to advance to their second consecutive AFC title game with a victory of the AFC South division champs from Houston.

Texans Player to Watch: Will Fuller– Okay, last week I had him as my x-factor for the Texans. He was listed as questionable all week.  Will is truly a difference-maker for the Texans offense. He’s a solid second option for Watson and he stretches the field vertically. I noticed how much they missed his presence in the win over Buffalo. Everything just gels for the Texans offense when number 15 is in the lineup.

Chiefs Player to Watch: Frank Clark– He’s the perfect combination of sudden and quick. Frank is also very powerful. What I like is he can be a disruptive factor on the outside as a defensive end or on the inside of the defensive line as a tackle. He could even play linebacker. It doesn’t matter, he finds ways to get the job done. He’s a nightmare to block when you don’t know where he’s coming from. Frank Clark is a dominant force not just as a pass rusher, but also when it comes to stopping the run.

Final Analysis: This will be the second career meeting between Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. They first met this season with the Texans coming back to win the game. Both teams are different now at this point in the season. Establishing Carlos Hyde will be a priority for the Texans early on. I also see Houston trying to move the pocket for Watson to make plays with his feet. His playmaking abilities give the Texans a chance in any game. Expect a healthy dose of Hyde mixed in with Hopkins, Stills, and Fuller. The Chiefs will need to attack a Houston secondary that struggles. You worry about limiting one of these Kansas City receivers, there’s the possibility of another one having a big game. The Texans’ defense will have their hands full. I need to see the Chiefs amp it up defensively. Arrowhead will be rocking for this game.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 Texans 23


One thought on ““Dear Ryan”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *