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Analysts say Chiefs are much improved defensively from their first meeting with Texans

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles away from Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles away from Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – The last time the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs met, the Texans surprisingly ran roughshod over the favored Chiefs in their own Arrowhead Stadium in Week 6 of the regular season.

But most believe this is a much different Chiefs team than the one the Texans scored a come-from-behind 31-24 win over, primarily on the 192 yards of rushing behind Deshaun Watson and Carlos Hyde.

The Chiefs, who have won six straight games and sit as the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs, are much healthier and the defense has played considerably stronger in the latter half of the season. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was battling knee and ankle injuries and receiver Sammy Watkins wasn’t even on the field in the first meeting, all of which has most believing it will be a much different result when the two teams meet in the AFC Divisional Round at Arrowhead on Sunday.

NFL Network analyst James Palmer makes the point that the Chiefs’ defense is much stronger than when the Texans put up 190 yards of rushing offense on them to win the clock battle. Palmer breaks down the difference in the Chiefs defense during the first 10 weeks of the regular season and their defensive stats Week 11-17.

Let’s just say there was a huge improvement.

The guys with The Ringer joined the chorus believing the Chiefs are a much different defensive team than in October so the Texans ball-control approach that kept Mahomes & Co. mostly sidelined during the Week 6 win won’t work this time around.