The history of the all-time NFL series between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs reads like a tale of two cities, but not in the order you would expect it to have unfolded. The Texans entered the NFL as an expansion team in 2002, but surprisingly proved to be a handful for the Chiefs. Houston won three of the first five games played between these two AFC rivals, including a 24-21 decision in 2004 in the first game the Texans ever played at Kansas City.
It should be noted that early on, when the Chiefs won, they won handily. The initial Texans-Chiefs clash in 2003 ended with Kansas City a resounding 42-14 road winner. And Kansas City's second triumph over the Texans was a 45-17 verdict in 2005, also at Houston. Lately, it's Kansas City that's held the upper hand in this series. The Chiefs have won four of the last five meetings, including a victory in a 42-34 shootout during the 2017 season.
The Hunter - One of the stars of that 2017 victory for the Chiefs was rookie running back Kareem Hunt. He rambled for 107 yards in the win, one of six 100-yard rushing days he enjoyed during his inaugural NFL season while leading all first-year players in yards gained on the ground with 1327. The Chiefs were 6-0 last season when Hunt rambled for 100 yards or more, and 4-7 in games in which he was held to less than 100 yards on the ground.
Watson's Home - The Texans unearthed their own rookie star last season in quarterback DeShaun Watson, and nowhere was that more evident than in the game against the Chiefs. He passed for five touchdowns in that contest, giving him 11 TD passes in a three-game span. But the party ended soon after. After tossing seven more TD passes in the next two games, Watson suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. He finished his seven-game rookie stint with 19 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
The DeShaun Factor - You might say that the difference between the Texans with Watson and without Watson is elementary, and it is rather easy to deduce via simple math. In the six games that Watson started, the Texans scored 208 points, going under 30 in just one game. That works out to an average of 34.6 points per game. The combined total in those six games was 61.1, so you could argue that Watson is an over bettor's best friend. Without Watson starting, the Texans scored 130 points in 10 games, 13 points a game.
It's Pat - After five seasons in which he started 76 of 80 regular-season games and took the Chiefs to the playoffs four times, but went 1-4, his only postseason win a 30-0 shutout of the Texans, the Chiefs let quarterback Alex Smith walk as a free agent to Washington and handed the reigns to 2017 first round pick Patrick Mahomes. Replacing Smith's conservative ball-control offense, the Chiefs believe that Mahomes can be an impact difference maker under center and become a top 10 NFL QB in short order.
Whither J.J. - No one doubts the quality of Texans defensive end J.J. Watts as a person after the tremendous humanitarian effort he made during the Houston flooding, or as a player. He was the first player in NFL history to record multiple 20-sack seasons. The only concern with Watts is his health. Surgery for a herniated disc and a fractured leg limited Watts to eight games combined the past two seasons. His first five NFL seasons, he didn't miss a game. Like Watson, the Texans are vastly different with a healthy Watts.
Texans vs Texans - You've got to be a real student of football history to be aware of this, but both of these teams started out in Texas as the Texans. That's the only name Houston's second NFL club has been known by since the Texans were granted an expansion franchise. But the Chiefs were born as the AFL's Dallas Texans in 1960 and won the 1962 AFL title under that handle before relocating to Kansas City prior to the 1963 season.
Ten Bells - David Letterman has nothing on the Chiefs offense when it comes to top 10 lists. During the 2017 season, Kansas City finished among the NFL's top 10 in scoring (25.9 points per game, sixth overall), yardage (375.4 per game, fifth), passing yardage (256.5, seventh) and rushing yardage (118.9, ninth). They also tied for 10th in the league with 42 touchdowns. The Chiefs were the NFL's second-best kickoff team, forcing 71 touchbacks.
Three Thousands - Both wideout Tyreek Hill (1183) and tight end Travis Kelce (1048) went over 1000 yards receiving for the Chiefs in 2017, and in the offseason, they added a third pass-catching threat, signing free-agent receiver Sammy Watkins to a three-year, $48 million deal. Watkins collected 1047 yards in receiving with the Buffalo Bills in 2015 and the Chiefs may also utilize his 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash to return kicks this season.
Winning Ways - The Chiefs were a playoff team last season, so you might be a bit surprised that perhaps due to the uncertainty at quarterback, Bovada has pegged the total on wins by Kansas City this season at only 8.5. If you think that Mahomes is as good as advertised, maybe you'll want to play the over at -130. If you believe the Chiefs are selling a bill of goods on the kid, then play the under at even money. The Texans are also set at 8.5 wins, with the over at odds of -160 and the under giving odds of +130.
MVP Talk - Several players on both teams are given odds by BetOnline regarding their chances of garnering the NFL's MVP award, but none can be classified among the favorites to win the honor. Watson is at +2000, while Mahomes is +3300. Further down the list, Hunt goes for odds of +5000, while you can play Watts at long odds of +10000. Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is also listed at +10000.