With Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season now nothing more than a fading memory, it’s time to look ahead to what Week 2 has in store for American football aficionados.
The Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) travel to take on the Houston Texans (1-0) in an AFC Wild Card rematch from last season that the Texans would love to forget after getting pummeled 30-0 at home by the Chiefs.
Kansas City is hoping to play more consistently throughout all four quarters in Week 2 as the Chiefs needed a miraculous, 18-point comeback to defeat the San Diego Chargers in overtime last Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Texans are expecting to get a little more from their offense after only scoring 23 points against a mediocre Chicago Bears team in Houston.
So, will Andy Reid’s bunch hand Houston an embarrassing beatdown at home for the second time in eight months, or will Bill O’Brien and the Texans exorcise some demons with a performance for the ages driven by revenge against the Chiefs?
Find out with these five bold predictions.
Lamar Miller Electrifies
The Houston Texans paid Lamar Miller a boatload of money over the offseason, and leaned heavily on him in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears. Miller received 32 touches (28 carries, four targets) and tallied a workmanlike 106 rushing yards, four receptions, and 11 receiving yards.
Kansas City’s run defense was an abomination on Sunday against the Chargers. The Chiefs gave up 155 rushing yards and two rushing TDs to Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon, along with five receptions for 31 yards and one TD to Woodhead through the air.
While I wouldn’t expect Kansas City to be quite as terrible as it was in Week 1 at stopping the run, the Chiefs will struggle with Miller and allow him to electrify with over 100 yards and two total TDs.
Chiefs Pass Rush Nowhere To Be Found
Kansas City put an alarmingly minimal amount of pocket pressure on Philip Rivers in Week 1, as he was sacked just once and hit a measly three times. This doesn’t bode well for the Chiefs considering Pro Football Focus ranks San Diego’s offensive line as the fourth-worst unit in the NFL, while Houston’s is ranked 11th overall.
Expect Tamba Hali and Co. to struggle to generate an adequate pass rush again in this one.
Kansas City Torched By Will Fuller
Last week, Texans rookie WR Will Fuller ran roughshod over Chicago. The Bears sent a plenitude of coverage at DeAndre Hopkins, and it backfired as Fuller tallied five receptions for 107 yards and one TD in his first NFL game.
To their credit, the Chiefs pass defense did a solid job in Week 1 against San Diego, but they benefited from the Keenan Allen injury which made things much easier for Eric Berry and Co. in the secondary.
Against Houston, Kansas City, as did Chicago, will get so caught up in dealing with Hopkins that it will let Fuller explode for another monster showing.
Chiefs Struggle To Run The Ball
According to Jared Dubin of CBS Sports, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters on Friday that running back Jamaal Charles will be listed as doubtful on the injury report this weekend and is unlikely to play.
Spencer Ware electrified in Charles’ absence in Week 1, but did suffer a foot injury against San Diego and might not be at 100 percent.
Spencer Ware won't practice today with a sprained toe, although he will play on Sunday. Tardif won't practice due to high ankle sprain.— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) September 14, 2016
Against a much tougher run defense in Week 2 in Houston, expect Ware to come back down to earth.
Texans Win In Convincing Fashion
Put simply, the Chiefs aren’t going to win many games in 2016 if they can’t generate a fourth-quarter pass rush in close games, and they project to be in plenty of them as their offense simply isn’t incredibly dynamic.
Expect to see the Texans establish the run early with Miller and subsequently take some shots with Brock Osweiler using play-action. In the end, Houston will be 2-0 after cementing a six-point victory, and Kansas City will be a soft 1-1 in need of making some serious adjustments.
[Featured Image by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]