Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans – NRG Stadium at 21:35 live on Sky Sports 1
I love Wildcard Weekend, we get to see teams in clutch situations with the season and often jobs on the line. Plus, we get an indication of which teams are building up that Super Bowl momentum as we get stuck into the ‘main course’ of the 2015/16 season.
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First up is the AFC clash between the 9-7 AFC South Champion, Texans and the 11-5 Wildcard Chiefs. For me this game is the most one sided of all the games this weekend, although the bookies do make the Seattle Seahawks a shorter priced favourite than the Chiefs, because the Texans really only have two star players and very little to offer on offence.
Despite having a great defence led by double Defensive Player of Year, JJ Watt and in my opinion the leagues number one WR this past season, in DeAndre Hopkins. They simply do not have the weapons on Offence to trouble Andy Reid’s Chiefs.
They do have home field advantage, which as we all know can make or break a playoff run, however they are up against a team which ranks third in Opponent Points Per Game and on top of that, the Chiefs are on an incredible 10 game winning streak right now.
Over that streak the Kansas City Defence has given up just 12.8 PPG and although the only high powered offence they faced over this period was the Pittsburgh Steelers, they limited Big Ben and co to just 13 points.
The Texans ranked a lowly 22nd in the league, with just 21.2 PPG and it really is hard to see how they will be able to score enough points to win this contest on Saturday night. They have notched over 30 points in their last two games, but the combined defences of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, would not put up as much resistance as the Chiefs D.
To top it off, QB Alex Smith has got his Offence into a nice rhythm during this amazing winning run. They have averaged 27.8 PPG during their 10 game streak and all without superstar RB Jamal Charles in the backfield.
Coming into the game, there is one key injury which could have a huge impact on which way this game goes. Houston’s left tackle Duane Brown tore his quad in the final game of the season and with the Chiefs potentially welcoming back sack master Justin Houston from injury, it could be a long and painful night for Texans QB Bryan Hoyer.
The Chiefs have improved on Offence that is clear from their rushing stats of 127.8 YPG on the ground, which is good enough for 6th best in the NFL. However, with JJ Watt leading the Texans D this should be a low scoring and close contest to the end.
Ultimately, the Chiefs are a better team in every area except for Watt and Hopkins but it would take a performance for the ages from both of them and a stinker from all the Chiefs for this game to go to the home side.
It is the playoffs and anything could happen, plus you have to respect the Texans in their own building, but I am happy to back the Chiefs to continue their streak and win their 11th game in a row this weekend.
I would also not put people off backing Under 40 Points in this one, as the defences should dominate but two things hold me back from taking that bet are, both defences are capable of scoring points of their own and with the season on the line, both teams might have to open up their offence if they want to win.
The other teams I like to progress to the Divisional round of the playoffs are: Steelers, Seahawks and Redskins. Plus, they should all cover their handicap lines.
Handicap Betting Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -3 at 1.82 with Matchbook
Prices correct at the time of writing.