The Kansas City Chiefs had been flying high through the first four weeks of the NFL season, but things came to a crashing halt in Week 5. The Indianapolis Colts stormed into Kansas City and picked up a 19-13 win, handing the Chiefs their first loss of the campaign in the process. Patrick Mahomes was neutralized by the Colts’ defense in Week 5, which is something we have rarely seen since the former Texas Tech star took over as Kansas City’s full-time starter at the beginning of last season.
Mahomes and the Chiefs will look to get back on track this week when the Houston Texans come to town. The Texans are coming off a dominant 53-32 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last week in what was the best game of Deshaun Watson’s young career. Watson decimated the Falcons’ defense all afternoon long. He’s going to need to be on his game again if Houston has any hopes of pulling off the upset over the Chiefs’ high-octane offense.
There are some major injury question marks for Kansas City heading into this one. Tyreek Hill is expected to miss another week with his shoulder issue, while Sammy Watkins is questionable with a shoulder injury of his own. Mahomes aggravated an ankle injury against the Colts, which has landed him on the injury report ahead of the showdown with Houston. Most expect Mahomes to be on the field on Sunday, but if he can’t play, the Chiefs will look to veteran backup Matt Moore.
The Texans are four ½-point underdogs in a game with a massive over/under of 55 points.
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Kansas City is still one of the betting favorites to win Super Bowl LIV, but the loss to Indianapolis exposed a few potential holes. For one, the running game has been almost non-existent. Running the football is of less importance when your quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. But, the Chiefs still aren’t going to scare opposing defenses as much without a consistent ground game. The Chiefs are averaging just 88.6 rushing yards per game to this point, which is the eighth-worst mark in all of football.
LeSean McCoy, who has run for 214 yards through 5 games, is the team’s leading rusher right now. Damien Williams and Darrel Williams have given the team almost nothing in that regard, and Mahomes is the Chiefs’ second-leading rusher with 81 yards thus far.
Mahomes has completely carried the offense so far. But, if he’s nursing a high ankle injury, it’s going to be difficult for him to do it all himself throughout an entire season. He has been phenomenal, though, as he has already amassed over 1,800 yards through the air with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Chiefs’ passing offense averages 356 yards per game, which leads the league by a massive margin. The next-closest team is the Rams, way down at 317 yards per game.
Teams generally need better balance to continually win at this level. Kansas City can probably still win the AFC West with a pass-heavy offense. Once the playoffs roll around, it’s going to be dramatically more difficult to get away with being one-dimensional.
Watson completed 28 of his 33 passes for 426 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in last week’s housing of the Falcons in Houston. While DeAndre Hopkins may well be the best receiver, the NFL has to offer these days. He is far from the only legitimate weapon at Watson’s disposal. Will Fuller, a former first-round pick out of Notre Dame, has battled injuries in his career. When healthy, though, he has been one of the game’s most dangerous deep threats. Fuller was incredible against Atlanta, finishing with 14 catches on 16 targets for 217 yards with three touchdowns.
Watson became the first quarterback in league history to throw for at least 500 yards with five touchdowns and five or fewer incompletions in a game. It will be fascinating to see what he can do for an encore this week against a Chiefs defense that has been nothing special so far in 2019. While the defense does look a bit improved over last season, KC is still allowing nearly 23 points per game, which puts them in the middle of the pack.
The Texans have gotten better balance offensively than the Chiefs, as well. Houston has averaged 129.4 rushing yards per game through 5 weeks, which is the 10th-best mark in the league. Their 252.4 passing yards per game ranks 11th. The key for Houston has always been keeping Watson upright. The Chiefs can throw the Texans’ offense out of whack if they can generate pressure, which is something the Falcons couldn’t do last week. They paid the price for it.
Everything depends on the status of Mahomes. If he’s out, the Chiefs take a massive hit. There likely isn’t a single player in the entire league that is as important to his team’s offense as the reigning league MVP. So, downgrading from Mahomes to Moore would put the Chiefs in a pretty terrible spot.
That said, I have a hard time imagining Mahomes missing this game. He was able to play through the injury against the Colts. While he wasn’t necessarily at his best, a few days off should help him get closer to full strength. If he plays, we have a couple of high-powered offenses squaring off against a couple of questionable defensive units.
I like the over in this one. Fifty-five points is a hefty total, but the Texans almost hit the over on that by themselves last week. We also know what kind of damage the Chiefs are capable of inflicting, even with Hill sidelined. I don’t see either defense enjoying much success in terms of stopping either offense here, which gives us all the makings of a good old-fashioned shootout. Bet the over on 55 points in Chiefs-Texans on Sunday afternoon.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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