Week 1 Preview: KC Chiefs at Houston Texans

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It’s one of the most exciting times of the year, it’s opening week for the NFL. Football is officially back folks, and it couldn’t feel much better. The Kansas City Chiefs will start their 2015 Regular Season on the road this Sunday at noon in Houston, against J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans.

This is an exciting and optimistic year to be a Kansas City Chiefs fan. There are a lot of new faces on the team, and the Chiefs are expected to be contenders for a playoff spot this season.

In a press conference earlier this week, Chiefs’ GM John Dorsey said, “This is a better football team and we’re going to be competitive this year.”

Dorsey did a terrific job this offseason bringing the star free agent receiver we’ve been waiting for in Jeremy Maclin, drafted a talented young corner in Marcus Peters, and adding much needed depth to the offensive line in Ben Grubbs.

Here is a look at some things to watch in Sunday’s matchup against Houston. But first, here are some key injuries for both the Chiefs and Texans:

Chiefs

RG Jeff Allen – Knee (Questionable)

WR Jason Avant – Hip (Probable)

WR Chris Conley – Knee (Probable)

RT Eric Fisher – Ankle (Questionable)

DT Dontari Poe – Lower Back (Probable)

WR De’Anthony Thomas – Calf (Probable)

Texans

RB Arian Foster – Groin (Out)

OLB Jadeveon Clowney – Knee (Probable)

G Xavier Su’a-Filo-Calf-Out

Things to Watch

Chief’s Offensive Line vs. Texan’s Front 7

The biggest issue of concern for the Chiefs this week is how and if they will be able to handle the tough front seven of the Houston Texans (J.J. Watt). The one spot to keep an eye on is Eric Fisher lined up against Watt. Fisher just moved to the right side and has not been on that side since he was drafted first overall. Also keep an eye on Donald Stephenson and Jadeveon Clowney. We haven’t seen too much of what Clowney can really do, and it is extremely important for the Chiefs to control the line of scrimmage in order to control the game.

Will Alex Smith Finally Start Throwing Down the Field?

Alex Smith is more than capable of throwing the ball deep, and accurately, we’ve all seen that. Remember the dreaded Colts playoff game? Well, if Alex can play like that all year while having some good protection and playmakers like Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce around him, expect big things. I do believe the Chiefs will try throwing the ball down the field Sunday against the Texans and it is wildly important for them to do so, in order to establish their ground game.

Will We Finally See a Wide Receiver Touchdown Catch?

Expect to hear this a lot Sunday whether the team actually throws a TD to a wide receiver. Keep an eye on Maclin lined up against Jonathan Joseph, and Albert Wilson lined up against rookie 1st rounder Kevin Johnson. The Chiefs speed outside could exploit the Texans weak defensive backfield.

Can the Chiefs Stop The Texans Running Game?

Last year was difficult without Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito, both who suffered season-ending achilles injuries in season-opening loss to the would-be 2-win Titans, when it came to the Chief’s run defense. Yes, Foster is out of the game with an injury, but do not sleep on Alfred Blue who will start in Foster’s place Sunday. Blue has shown in previous games in his career that he is explosive and can run all over teams. If the Chiefs can slow down Blue, I believe they win the game.

Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Texans 13

Good guys win this Sunday. The Chiefs’ Offense will struggle to get on the same page and establish a running game early, but will catch rhythm before the second half and the Texans won’t be able to stop them. The Chiefs’ defense will be staunch all game, and will come out hot, sacking Brian Hoyer three times and they will have on interception. At the end of the day, the Texans can’t replace the hole from Foster’s absence and the Chiefs prevail and start off the 2015 season 1-0.

***

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