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Chiefs vs. Texans: 10 Stats to Know

Posted Oct 8, 2017

Here are some things to keep in mind as the Chiefs face the Texans on Sunday Night Football, presented by DraftKings

The Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) take their undefeated record on the road against the Houston Texans (2-2) this week on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

It’s the second-straight week for the Chiefs in primetime as they’re coming off a thrilling 29-20 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night, while the Texans look to follow up a 57-14 throttling of the Tennessee Titans last week.

It’ll be the fifth time these two teams have hooked up over the past years, with the Chiefs winning three of the last four.

Here are 10 stats to know for Chiefs-Texans on Sunday night:

1. The Chiefs continue to lead the league in rushing

The Chiefs are averaging 164 yards rushing per game this season, which is 15 yards better than the team in second place—the Jacksonville Jaguars (149).

The Texans come into this game ranked 14th in the league against the run—allowing an average of just 96 yards rushing per game.

Rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who became just the fourth player in NFL history to have four games with 100-plus yards from scrimmage to begin a career, leads the league in multiple categories, including rushing (502 yards), total yards from scrimmage (659), and forced missed tackles (33).

And Hunt continues to be a hot name in the fantasy football world—coming in as the No. 4 running back this week according to DraftKings’ Week 5 running back rankings (PPR). In standard leagues, Hunt has been the No. 1 running back so far this season.

2. Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson coming off impressive performance

Last week against the Titans, Watson—the No. 12 overall pick in the draft last spring—went 25 of 34 (73.5 percent) for 283 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He also added four carries for 24 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

With those numbers, Watson earned the AFC’s “Offensive Player of the Week Award” on Wednesday.  

Some in the fantasy world believe that success will continue as Watson is the No. 9 quarterback available this week according to DraftKings’ “Week 5 QB Starts, Sits.”

3. The Chiefs’ passing offense with Alex Smith continues to shine

At this point, there’s no questioning that veteran quarterback Alex Smith is off to the best start of his career.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid credited the weapons around Smith of growing into their roles as one the reasons for the success, but nonetheless, the Chiefs rank second in the NFL after four games by averaging 405.3 yards per game.

Smith leads the league in completion percentage (76.0), passer rating against the blitz (158.33), passer rating on balls that travel at least 21 yards in the air (141.4), and just overall passer rating (124.2).

Smith is averaging 8.82 yards per attempt, which ranks as third-highest in the NFL, and has thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions this season. He’s on pace to shatter all of his career bests.

4. The Texans’ special teams units have struggled in coverage

The kick and punt coverage units for the Texans rank 30th in the league respectively by allowing an average of 16.1 yards per punt return, and 27.3 yards per kick return.

The Chiefs boast an All-Pro punt returner in Tyreek Hill, who has yet to break one this year in limited opportunities as teams have made a conscious effort to not give him opportunities.

5. Marcus Peters faces a team he’s fared well against

Since entering the league in 2015, there isn’t a player in the league who has more interceptions than Peters, who has 16 in 38 career games (including playoffs).

Furthermore, there’s not a team in the league who Peters has picked-off more than the Texans, who have completed four passes to Peters in three career games.

6. The Texans boast two dynamic receivers

Peters and the Chiefs’ defensive backs will have their hands full once again this week as they face Texans’ standout receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, who each went over 100 yards against the Chiefs in the Texans’ 19-12 win last year in Week 2.

Fuller saw his first action of the season last week against the Titans and finished with four catches for 35 yards and two touchdowns.

Hopkins, who signed a healthy contract extension right before the season began, finished with 10 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.

Despite the two dynamic players on the outside, the Chiefs’ pass defense has been pretty good as a whole recently.

7. Opposing quarterbacks haven’t had much success against the Chiefs

Since 2013, the Chiefs’ defense under Bob Sutton leads the NFL in lowest completion percentage—allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 57.3 percent of passes against them.

This group has been especially good this year—allowing a league-low of just 51.4 percent, and they’ve been challenged.

All four of the quarterbacks the Chiefs have faced—the Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Eagles’ Carson Wentz, the Chargers’ Philip Rivers and the Redskins’ Kirk Cousins, all rank in the Top 12 in the league in passing.

In games against the Chiefs, these guys have combined to throw four touchdowns and four interceptions, while averaging 254 yards per game and completing 51.4 percent.

In all other games, those four guys have combined to complete 68 percent of their passes for 293 yards per game with 25 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

All four are having good seasons, and all four struggled against this Chiefs’ defense.

8. The Chiefs have been dominating the second half and fourth quarter

The best teams always finish strong, and that’s been the case with the Chiefs this year.

They lead the league in scoring differential in the second half, scoring 78 points and allowing just 37 (plus-41) through their first four games.

And in the fourth quarter specifically, the Chiefs have outscored their opponents 57 to 13.

9. J.J. Watt leads a formidable Texans’ front seven

The Chiefs have already faced their fair share of strong defensive fronts so far this year, but they’ll face one of the league’s most dominant defensive lineman Sunday night in All-Pro and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt.

Watt leads the Texans with 10 quarterback hurries through four games.

Former No. 1 overall pick from the 2014 NFL Draft—Jadeveon Clowney—leads the team with three sacks, while edge rusher Whitney Mercilus always has to be accounted for as well.

10. Teams have had success getting after Texans’ quarterbacks

The Texans have surrendered 17 quarterback sacks through four games, which is tied for the most in the league, and the Chiefs boast one of the NFL’s top pass rushers in Justin Houston, who has 15 quarterback pressures and four sacks in four games.

According to the grades at Pro Football Focus, the Texans rank 31st in pass blocking as a group, allowing a total of 59 pressures in four games, although 22 of those came in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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