HOUSTON – The Kansas City Chiefs have a great team. That’s why they played well enough to earn the bye and host the Houston Texans in the divisional round. They have the reigning league MVP at quarterback in Pat Mahomes, who was one of six Chiefs to earn a Pro Bowl selection, 2nd most for any AFC team.
The team poses a problem every week for every team they face.
However, here are three players, beyond Mahomes, that the Texans should be greatly concerned with.
Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill
Tyreek Hill is one of the Chiefs six Pro Bowl players but is coming off a regular season that truly wasn’t all that explosive for a player of his incredible skills. He got off to a slow start following an injury in the opener that forced him to miss the next four games. But he exploded in the five games that followed his return to the field. He averaged 105 yards per game with 5 touchdown receptions over that 5-game stretch including a game against Houston.
Hill caught five balls for 80 yards and two scores against the Texans and will be a tough cover for the Texans secondary. Cornerback Bradley Roby is really the only player with the type of speed to hope to stay with Hill. Houston will continue to show the type of looks that keep the play in front of them in an attempt to limit the big plays, especially from Hill.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu
No player on the Chiefs is more familiar with the Texans than Tyrann Mathieu after he spent last season with Houston. Mathieu was only in Houston for one season, but immediately earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. He had a good season with Houston, but a much better, more impactful one with the Chiefs this season. His 12 passes defenses and four interceptions were both team-leading figures. He was third on the team in tackles for the season and led the team with 10 tackles against Houston in week six.
His familiarity with the Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson is a major concern. It will be a game of cat and mouse between Mathieu and the Texans play-callers. Mathieu likes to take risks and play close to the line, having Will Fuller on the field could be a real equalizer in this matchup.
Defensive lineman Frank Clark
Frank Clark did not have a spectacular season but still finished second on the team in sacks with eight, second on the team in quarterback hits with 14 and first on the team with 12 tackles for loss. He played through several injuries while those around him were also down. Clark came on towards the end of the season. In his final seven games, he had five of his eight sacks, 10 of his 14 quarterback hits and seven of his 12 tackles for loss.
Houston allowed seven sacks a week ago against the Bills. Watson was at fault for several of those but also prevented countless others. In the first meeting in week six, Watson was hardly touched in that game. He wasn’t sacked at all and the Chiefs were credited with just two quarterback hits, one of those from Clark. If the Texans offense can help create a similar scenario for Watson this time around, then the Texans will like their chances of putting plenty of points on the board.