Chiefs vs. Texans: 10 Stats to Know

Here are 10 stats to know about the game on Saturday

The Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) travel to take on the Houston Texans (9-7) on Saturday afternoon in the opening game of the 2015 NFL playoffs. The game will be broadcast on ESPN-ABC and ESPN Deportes beginning at 3:20 p.m. CT.

Here are 10 stats to keep in mind for the game:

1. The Chiefs have been tested

For the Chiefs, all but one of their losses this season have come against teams that are currently in the playoffs (Denver, Green Bay, Cincinnati and Minnesota).

The Chiefs have also already defeated three teams that currently find themselves in the playoffs, and all three are AFC teams (Pittsburgh, Denver and Houston).

2. Series history between the Chiefs and Texans

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Saturday's matchup will be the eighth time the Chiefs and Texans have met—and the first time in the postseason. The Chiefs lead the regular season series 4-3, winning the past two matchups.

The Chiefs opened the 2015 season with a 27-20 victory in Houston. Here are 12 observations from that game.

Additionally, the Chiefs are 3-2 in games played at NRG Stadium. Plus, Andy Reid is 5-0 in his career vs. the Texans and Alex Smith (as a starter) is 3-0 against the Texans.

Although the Texans have never lost a playoff game (2-0) at NRG Stadium, there's a first time for everything.

3. The Chiefs are the hottest team in the NFL right now

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The Chiefs carry a franchise-best 10-game winning streak into this game on Saturday afternoon against the Texans, which is also currently the longest winning streak in the NFL.

The next-best streak is Washington with four straight wins.

Since the game against the Steelers back on October 25, which was the beginning of the winning streak, the Chiefs have tallied a point differential of plus-150, which leads the NFL.

The Chiefs are averaging 27.8 points per game and allowing just 12.8 points per game during this streak as well.

4. Jeremy Maclin continues to make plays

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Last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, Jeremy Maclin finished the game with a modest 3 receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown, but that was all he needed to break the franchise record for most receptions in a season by a receiver with 87.

Maclin has 87 receptions for 1,088 yards and 8 touchdowns this season, but most impressively, according to the folks over at Pro Football Focus, Maclin dropped just one pass on 120 targets this season, which is the best mark among all NFL receivers.

The Chiefs are also 6-1 in games that Maclin catches a touchdown, which include three straight heading into Saturday.

5. Alex Smith has been spectacular in the postseason in his career

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In three postseason games, Smith has 9 touchdowns and not a single interception in 114 pass attempts.

He's averaging 291 yards per game through the air and completing 58 percent of his passes, and his teams have scored an average of almost 33 points in those games despite winning just one of the three.

Throughout the current 10-game winning streak, Smith has completed 68 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. He's also added 379 yards on the ground, and his ability to scramble and pick up yards after leaving the pocket has been crucial for the offense.

Smith is just 4 touchdown passes shy of passing Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the most in franchise postseason history with 8.

6. Texans offense is led by QB Brian Hoyer, WR DeAndre Hopkins

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The Texans had four different players start under center this season, but on Saturday, the Chiefs will face the same guy they did back in Week 1—seven-year NFL veteran, Brian Hoyer.

In the 11 games he played this season, Hoyer completed 61 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. In those 11 games, Hoyer faced just three winning teams, all of which made the playoffs (Chiefs, Patriots, Bengals).

In those 3 games, Hoyer threw 1 touchdown with 2 interceptions and completed 52 percent of his passes. The lone win came against the Bengals, against whom Hoyer left early with a concussion and T.J. Yates finished the game at quarterback in their 10-6 victory.

Over the past two games against the Titans and Jaguars, the Texans offense put up back-to-back 30-plus point performances, and both were against defenses that allowed an average of more than 26 points per game throughout the season.

One player the Chiefs will have to focus on is third-year standout DeAndre Hopkins, who ranks third in the NFL with 1,521 yards receiving this season, and he's added 11 touchdowns as well.

In the first meeting between these two teams, Hopkins finished with 9 receptions for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns.

7. Third-and-short defense dominating for the Chiefs

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When opposing offenses have faced a third down against the Chiefs defense and have less than 4 yards to go, they've only succeeded in converting a first down 44.9 percent of the time, which is the lowest in the NFL.

Led by the franchise's all-time leading tackler, Derrick Johnson, who leads the team this season with 116 tackles, the defense has been dominant when the game is put in their hands.

In the last two victories, the clock has run out on the opposing offense trying to make their way down the field for a potential game-winning touchdown.

The Chiefs defense wouldn't allow it.

8. Pick City

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After hauling in just 6 interceptions all of last season, the Chiefs defense currently has seven players with multiple interceptions this season.

They're led in that department by rookie first-round pick Marcus Peters, whose 8 interceptions tie him for the NFL lead, as do his 26 passes defensed. The 280 yards he has on returns from those interceptions rank as the best mark in the NFL.

He should be a serious contender for the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The 22 interceptions they have as a team rank second in the NFL (Carolina Panthers, 24).


LAST TIME THEY MET

Photos from the Chiefs week one matchup against the Texans


9. J.J. Watt leads talented Texans defense

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Watt finished the season leading the NFL in sacks (17.5), tackles for loss (29) and quarterback hits (50). He also recorded 76 tackles (57 solo), 8 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery while helping Houston transform into one of the NFL's top defenses.

The Texans first-round pick back in 2012, linebacker Whitney Mercilus, has also had a fantastic season and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 12 sacks, including a dominant 3.5-sack performance last Sunday against the Jaguars. 

As a team, the Texans defense finished third in the NFL in yards allowed per game (310.2), third in pass yards allowed per game (210.4), fifth in sacks (franchise-record 45.0) and tied for seventh in points allowed per game (19.6).

10. The offensive line continues to lead the way for Chiefs

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There isn't an offense in the NFL that can properly function without the offensive line playing at a high level. The guys working in the trenches are where it all starts.

For the Chiefs, they've started eight different combinations along the offensive line, including five different combos throughout their 10-game winning streak.

They've paved the way for three different players to rush for at least 400 yards this season and are only of only three teams in the NFL that can say that.

The guys they have headed into Saturday's game against the Texans are the youngest group in the AFC playoffs with an average age of just 24.6 years old.

Here's a look at the different combinations of starters:

Starting Offensive Line Combinations

Opponent

LT

LG

C

RG

RT

@ Texans - W

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Broncos - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Packers - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Fisher

@ Bengals - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Fulton

Fisher

Bears - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Fulton

Fisher

@ Vikings - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Fulton

Fisher

Steelers - W

Fisher

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Allen

Lions - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

BYE

@ Broncos - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Chargers - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Bills - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Raiders - W

Fisher

Allen

Fulton

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Chargers - W

Fisher

Fulton

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Ravens - W

Fisher

Fulton

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Browns - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Raiders - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Stephenson

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