Chiefs vs. Buccaneers: 3 storylines to watch
By David Thomas
The return of Justin Houston
Houston is back baby! Not seen since the Patriots game in the divisional round of the playoffs last season. The Kansas City Chiefs $100 million man is back on the field, and it may be the best time to return. In covering for Houston, Dee Ford has notched 10 sacks so far this season. Tamba Hali has been more of a rotational guy, and could see his snaps reduced even further with Houston’s return.
This is certainly a good problem to have. The Chiefs will now have three Pro Bowl-caliber linebackers rotating and creating havoc for opponents offensive lines. Again reminiscent of the Broncos’ wrecking ball linebackers in Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Shane Ray.
During the Chiefs run in the playoffs, aside from the obvious clock management issues. The Chiefs struggled to get to Tom Brady in the divisional round. Tom Brady had been sacked in eight straight games, and the Chiefs had sacked their opponent in all but two games during the regular season. To rustle any great quarterback and win playoff games, they need to be able to create consistent pressure. Chiefs struggled early in the season in sacking the QB, and are still tied 22nd in the NFL with 18.
The addition of Justin Houston into the lineup should instantly improve the Chiefs pass rush, greatly improving their odds in the playoffs. The linebacker corps has been a strength of the Chiefs defense for quite some time, and will likely dictate just how far they go this season.
Welcome back, Justin Houston.