Wild Card #2: Chiefs at Texans NFL Betting Total
The Kansas City Chiefs head to Houston this Saturday for a wild card game against the Texans that is a reprise of the team’s meeting at NRG Stadium in Week 1. Kickoff is set for 4:35pm Eastern time on ESPN/ABC. The Chiefs (11-5) took one of the AFC wild card slots, while the Texans (9-7) won the AFC South. The Chiefs are the NFL betting odds‘ three-point favorites, and the over/under total is 41 points.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) January 7, 2016
Kansas City enters the game as a bit of an historical anomaly in the annals of the NFL. After their rout of Houston in Week 1, the Chiefs then lost five straight — and then they ran off ten straight wins. If the Broncos had lost in Week 17, Kansas City would have won the AFC West and left the Broncos holding the wild card. Houston had a similarly slow start, opening 2-5 before finishing 7-2 to pass the Indianapolis Colts and win the division.
Both teams lost their starting tailbacks, as Kansas City lost Jamaal Charles to an ACL tear early in October against Chicago. Houston lost Arian Foster to an Achilles tendon tear on October 25 when the team was in MIami. While Kansas City had consistency at quarterback (Alex Smith started all 16 games), the Texans would start four different players at quarterback: Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden. Hoyer returns from the NFL concussion protocol in time to start the wild card game.
The Chiefs and Texans both had to take similar approaches to games in the second half of the season. Because of the poor starts they had suffered, they both had to approach each contest as a mini-season. As Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith told the media on Tuesday, “We knew we had dug ourselves into a hole, and it was like, ‘Let’s just go 1-0 this week.’ Let’s just have a good day of preparation, a good week of preparation and try to get a win and not think about anything else.”
Both Houston and Kansas City come in with solid defenses, particularly on third down. The Texans are #1 in the NFL in third down conversions permitted (28.5 percent), while the Chiefs are #2 (33.18 percent). Houston is #5 in yards permitted per play (5.03), and the Chiefs are #6 (5.08). Both teams have limited their opponents to fewer than 20 points per game on average this season.
This means that when Houston and Kansas City meet on Saturday, two teams that have vastly different mindsets from Week 1 will be confronting one another.
NFL Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction
Even though the Texans have proven themselves to be solid on defense, I think that Kansas City has more weapons, and their ten-game winning streak has taken them through a stronger division than what Houston has had to face. I’m picking the Chiefs to win and cover, 27-17.