Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) at Houston Texans (2-2)
The Texans dropped 57 points on the Titans last week, picking up 33 first downs in the process. That performance was night and day from their week 1 performance in a 29-7 loss to the Jaguars. The obvious difference is the quarterback, as week 1 starter Tom Savage was benched at halftime against the Jaguars and replaced with first round pick Deshaun Watson, but Watson’s career didn’t get off to a great start either. He struggled to move the ball in the second half against Jacksonville week 1 and then again in Cincinnati week 2, before taking a big step forward against a weak New England defense week 3.
Watson’s week 4 game was easily his best performance yet and a big part of that was the return of Will Fuller from injury. A first round pick in 2016, Fuller had an up and down rookie year, showing blazing speed, but struggling with drops, before missing the first 3 games of this season with a broken collarbone. He looked like a new receiver in his first game back and that, along with the improved play of Watson, helped lead to arguably the best single game offensive performance by any team all season. Fuller and Watson might not always be that good this season and they still have major problems on the offensive line, but they run the ball well with Watson under center and have a pair of talented outside receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller that Watson can hit off of play action. At the very least, their offensive outlook looks better than it did at the start of the season.
This week, they face a banged up Kansas City team. The Chiefs are 4-0, but they’re going to be missing 4 week 1 starters with injury in this one, center Mitch Morse, guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, safety Eric Berry, and outside linebacker Dee Ford. The Chiefs have had some close calls so far this season and aren’t as good as their record suggests, but I still have them about 4 points better than Houston. This line is a pick ‘em, suggesting that the visiting Chiefs are about 3 points better. We’re not getting any real line value with the Chiefs, but they’re probably the smarter choice in a game that’s close to a toss up.
Kansas City Chiefs 17 Houston Texans 16
Pick against the spread: Kansas City PK