Insight from the Real Experts: KC vs. Texans

It is time again for our weekly conversation with the real experts of the Chiefs upcoming opponent, the fan who follows the team day in and day out. This week the Chiefs try to salvage their season by traveling to Houston to battle the Houston Texans.

The Chiefs are trying to rebound from a disappointing performance in Buffalo against the Bills, which resulted in a 14-3 loss. The Texans entire season has been disappointing as they have a league worst 1-8 win-loss record. This week we visit with 3 fans of the Houston Texans. Our panel consists of the following:
• Vincent Russell, 41 year-old finance professional, from Houston, Texas; a Texans fan start up...ex-Oiler fan since 1971.
• Keith Weiland, Editor of HoustonProfootball.com, from Houston, Texas, a Texans since Bob McNair was officially awarded the expansion franchise six years ago… previously a Houston Oilers fan for many years.
• Daniel Gantt, 38 year-old technology sales professional, from Austin, Texas, a Texans fan since they have existed…previous Houston Oiler fan.

Our panel of Texans fans sees many holes on the Texans team. They point out the lack of productivity from the Texans passing game, the poor performance of the injury riddled offensive line and the porous run defense. They do point out bright spots in wide receiver Andre Johnson and kick returner Jerome Mathis.

Question: What aspect of the Texans attack do the Chiefs not have an answer for?

Answer: "The Texans are the worst team in the league for good reason. They're not very good, and the Chiefs probably edge the Texans in all aspects of this game. Chiefs fans might remember receiver Andre Johnson though, especially after the performance he gave in the Texans win at Arrowhead last season. If David Carr can find a way to hook up with Johnson downfield, there is no answer for what he can do on the field." – Keith Weiland

Question: Who is the Texans' player that Chiefs fans have not heard of that will be a difference maker in the game and why?

Answer: Andre Johnson has the potential to be a difference maker this game. He's been injured this season with no film being available for opposing coaches. Despite Jabar Gaffney's dropped passes this season, he has been the go to guy in passing situations. This should only benefit Andre Johnson in man coverage, which I don't think the Chiefs would be foolish enough to do. At the same time, if KC double's up on Andre, it should benefit Jabar"– Daniel Gantt

"Rookie Jerome Mathis is slowed down by a hamstring and may not play, but if he does, he could make a difference in the game. Mathis, the leading kickoff returner amongst the college ranks last year, has been tremendous as a kick returner when he has played this season. Clocked at an unreal 4.2 speed in the forty at the combine, Mathis is second in the NFL right now with a 30.4-yard kickoff return average (yes, better than even Mr. X-Factor himself, Dante Hall, this season). He has been able to give the Texans offense terrific starting field position, which is quite a benefit for an offense as inept as this one." – Keith Weiland

Analysis: Andre Johnson has indeed been a sore spot for the Chiefs. In a 24-21 win by the Texans in Kansas City, Johnson had 4 catches for 96 yards including a 46-yard pass to set up a touchdown. Add the fact that the Chiefs have given up some huge passing games this year (5 different 100 yard receivers), then Johnson has a chance to win this game by himself, especially if he stays on the opposite side of the field from Patrick Surtain.

The Chiefs have struggled in kickoff coverage this season. Chris Carr nearly changed the Oakland Raiders game with a big kick return just before halftime. The Chiefs will need to do a better job of containing kick returns in order to ensure victory. The Texans are a team the Chiefs should beat, but losing the field position battle could change the outcome.

Question: What concern do you as a Texans ' fan have as you look at the Chiefs?

Answer: "Stopping the Chief rushing attack will be tough since the Chiefs are 7th in the NFL at 132 ypg and the Texans allow a whopping 153 yards per game. Dom Capers has suggested that SS Glenn Earl will get more playing time since he is one of our more physical players and we will have our hands full stopping the dominant KC running attack. SS CC Brown has done a fine job for a rookie but FS Marcus Coleman has played soft and looks like he has mailed in this season. Gary Walker has played up to his previous Pro Bowl form the last few weeks and will have a constant double team. Look for the Chiefs to run away from Walkers side much of the game." – Vincent Russell

"The Texans are playing soft on defense, and they can be even softer when giving up yardage to a talented running back like Larry Johnson. The Texans have to account for their lackluster pass rush by dropping back into coverage more than they should, so that leaves a good back like Johnson plenty of room to run, especially between the tackles. If the Texans defensive line is neutralized, then that puts a lot of pressure on inside linebackers DaShon Polk and Morlon Greenwood." – Keith Weiland

"I'm concerned that they have better offensive unit." – Daniel Gantt

Analysis: The Texans are ranked 32nd in the league against the rush. The Chiefs should be able to move the ball on the ground against them, thus opening up the play action passing game. The key for the Chiefs in this game will be getting Larry Johnson going early and using play action to keep Trent Green upright. The Chiefs will also need to score touchdowns once they get into the red zone. Poor red zone conversion cost the Chiefs the Bills game and was a major factor in the Chargers game.

Conclusion: This is a must win game for the Chiefs if they are to make a playoff run. The Chiefs have used up their entire margin for error this season. The coaching staff must find a way to keep Green on his fight. The blocking of the offensive line must improve and the wide receivers must catch balls that hit their hands. This is an opportunity to regain confidence. The Chiefs cannot afford to let this opportunity get away.

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