Texans vs. Chiefs: Key matchups to watch in Week 1

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Here are key matchups to watch in Week 1 as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

The Kansas City Chiefs kick off their Super Bowl Championship defense on Thursday night at home against the Houston Texans. The Chiefs are heavily favored in their Banner Raising contest, but what individual matchups should fans be watching for as the 2020 NFL Season kicks off? These are the five in-game matchups that will decide opening night.

Chris Jones and Frank Clark against the Texans’ offensive line

Outside of left tackle Laremy Tunsil, the Houston offensive line is still very much suspect—like, starting former Chief Zach Fulton suspect. Deshaun Watson was sacked on 8.2% of his dropbacks last year, a staggering 44 times (for comparison, Mahomes was sacked on just 3.4% of pass attempts).

Unfortunately for Houston, they have a problem in the form of Kansas City’s defensive line. The unit is the deepest on the entire roster for the Super Bowl Champions, and are led by All-Pro caliber pass rushers Frank Clark and Chris Jones. Kansas City will feast early and often on the Texans beef. Expect that pressure to be a deciding factor in this one.

Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman against the Texans’ secondary

Our own Jordan Mannix broke down the matchup on Monday which perhaps boasts the most potential for Kansas City in the season opener: the speed of the wideouts versus the lackluster secondary for Houston. He did a great job of breaking down the statistical analysis of this particularly matchup, so there is no need to belabor the point here.

The reality is that the receivers for Kansas City are much, much faster than the Texans’ secondary, and they magnify their speed by being excellent route runners—quick in and out of cuts. The Chiefs scored 51 points in less than three quarters against Houston in January, and Houston is not better in the secondary than they were then. Yikes!

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