TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan, Randy Cross
SERIES: First regular season meeting. The Chiefs beat the Texans, 19-9 last Aug. 17 during the preseason at Arrowhead Stadium.
2003 RANKINGS: Chiefs: offense 12th (6th rush, 19th pass); defense 16th (1st rush, 27th pass). Texans: offense 14th (15th rush, 11th pass); defense 14th (17th rush, 15th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Chiefs want to take some of
the load off RB Priest Holmes' shoulders, but running against
FAST FACTS: Chiefs:
--TE Tony Gonzalez, who has been
held to four receptions for 26 yards in the first two games, has been hampered
by sore knee and a twisted ankle. Neither
in either game. Gonzalez appeared
to aggravate the knee injury in practice Thursday but is expected to start
--TE Jason Dunn may see more duty
in the passing game against
--CB William Bartee, the incumbent
starter at right corner, has not played in the first two games and is listed as
doubtful for Sunday. Dexter McCleon, who was signed as a free agent in the
offseason, has played well in Bartee's place and may hold onto the starting job
even when Bartee returns. Either way, the Chiefs need a healthy Bartee to
bolster the nickel defense, something that will be key with upcoming games
--DE Eddie Freeman, who has not practiced or played since early in training camp due to an elbow injury, worked this week and is questionable for Sunday's game. Freeman, the team's second-round pick in the 2002 draft, is a valuable player because he can swing between end and tackle.
--LB Monty Beisel, who saw action primarily on special teams during his first two seasons, saw action in obvious passing situations last week and will continue to get on the field at LB. The coaches like Beisel's speed and tackling ability, to say nothing of his availability this week
with backup middle LB Kawika Mitchell likely sidelined by a hamstring injury.
--LT Willie Roaf has played in
eight Pro Bowls and is respected throughout the NFL, but there are signs that
he's as good as ever this season. Roaf, who came to
-- DE Gary Walker, who has been
sidelined more than a month with a sprained left shoulder, intensified his
participation in practice this week and is not ruling out playing Sunday against
the Chiefs. "This Sunday is a lot closer than any other Sunday,"
-- DE Corey Sears is expected to make his third consecutive start at left defensive end with All-Pro DE Gary Walker still slowed by a sprained left shoulder.
-- NT Terrance Martin will make his
first career start Sunday against the Chiefs. Martin moved into the starting
lineup when Seth Payne tore a ligament in his left knee in last week's loss at
-- RB Tony Hollings, selected by the Texans in the supplemental draft, is expected to see action out of the backfield Sunday for the first time this season. Hollings, who is less than a year removed from ACL surgery, rushed team-high 41 attempts during the preseason.
-- FS Marlon McCree, who was
claimed off waivers Wednesday from
-- K Kris Brown has been slowed this week by a groin injury but is expected to play Sunday. P Chad Stanley is the emergency kicker.
-- Veteran Todd Washington will
start at left guard against the Chiefs in place of Milford Brown, who will miss
at least two weeks with a partial tear of the posterior cruciate ligament in his
INSIDE THE CAMPS
As usual, most of the buzz around Arrowhead Stadium involved the health of running back Priest Holmes. Holmes rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries in Kansas City's impressive 41-20 win over Pittsburgh last Sunday but came away with bruised ribs and
assorted other wounds.
In a nod to the NFL's injury reporting policy, Holmes was listed as questionable on Wednesday with a calf injury. He did not practice Wednesday but returned to the field Thursday and will start Sunday against the Houston Texans.
"I'm going to keep getting up and get going back at those defenses," Holmes said.
While Holmes has shown no signs of favoring his surgically repaired hip, he did look sluggish at times in last week's game, raising concerns that the Chiefs should dial back on the number of touches he receives. Through two games last season, Holmes had 44 carries and 11 receptions.
Through the first two games this season, Holmes has 44 carries and nine receptions -- two fewer touches, but for seven more yards than last year.
Time could be running out for Texans starting free safety Matt Stevens.
Only Stevens doesn't believe his job is in jeopardy. Whether the writing is on the wall or not, the Texans made a move to shore up one of their weakest links on the team by claiming free
safety Marlon McCree off waivers
The Texans waived free safety
Travares Tillman to make room on the roster for McCree, who spent the past
two-plus seasons with
"I feel like, other than a couple of missed tackles, I've played fine," Stevens said. "I don't even have the most missed tackles on the team. I don't worry about what people say. I'm used to it from eight years of experience in the league. No one sits in those meeting rooms except the players and the coaches. Most of the people who are (criticizing) don't know what they're talking about. It's ludicrous."
Stevens, acquired by the Texans
McCree started 27 of 31 career games with the Jaguars, including all 16 in 2002, when he finished second in the AFC in interceptions and fifth in the NFL. His six interceptions tied the Jaguars' single-season record. First-year Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio installed a new defensive system, and the team used a second-round pick on free safety Rashean Mathis, bumping McCree to a backup role.
McCree is not expected to play much, if any, this weekend against the Chiefs.
"I'll say a week," he said. "I pride myself on being able to pick things up quickly."