The Houston Texans have a tough task ahead of them on Sunday as they will try to pull an upset victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, while difficult, it’s not impossible. These teams already faced off once this year at Arrowhead Stadium and the Texans came out with a 31-24 win in Week 6.
Can the Texans pull off another win against the Chiefs? Let’s breakdown four reasons the Texans can come away with a victory and advance to the AFC Championship game.
4. Deshaun Watson’s performance in big games
Remember when everyone counted out Deshaun Watson out against Alabama in the national title game? All he did was lead Clemson to a victory and his upcoming matchup with the Chiefs feels a lot like that one.
Not many analysts seem to think the Texans have a chance and that’s when Watson seems to play his best. Against a defense that has been suspect with his confidence being so high, Watson should be in store for a big performance.
3. J.J. Watt’s Spark
There was some skepticism surrounding J.J. Watt’s return to the field against the Titans, but he quickly proved them wrong. Watt was consistently in the backfield and finished the game with one sack. He was also a boost to the defense as a whole as they seemed to be playing with more confidence.
“He made some really game-changing plays,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said via Sarah Barshop of ESPN. “He just changes the game by his presence in there. His talent, he draws a lot of attention relative to blocking schemes and things like that, but he’s a great player. … It was great having him back in there.”
The impact that Watt typically brings to the table should play a key role in making Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable in the pocket. If Watt can get that done, the Chiefs’ offense could be slowed down enough for the Texans to outpace them.
2. Carlos Hyde
Remember when Carlos Hyde signed with the Chiefs during the offseason and was expected to be the lead back? Kansas City decided they didn’t want him and shipped him off to the Texans for a backup offensive lineman.
The first time these two teams faced off, Hyde got some revenge rushing 26 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs are giving up 128.2 yards per game on the ground, and even though they have played better as of late, they are going to have struggles.
Even though Hyde hasn’t been as strong the last couple of weeks, this should be a run-first gameplan. He should be able to reach at least 100 yards and a touchdown.
There have been a lot of major upsets across sports that have been because of confidence. In the first half against the Buffalo Bills, the Texans showed zero confidence and it looked like their season was almost over.
In the second half, it was all about the Texans who came roaring back, and they have to feel confident on both sides of the ball heading into the game. They also know what it’s like going into Arrowhead Stadium to win a game. Even if they fall behind in this game they shouldn’t lose confidence. As long as they keep this game close, they will feel confident they can win this game.