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Arrowheadlines: Kansas City Chiefs News 1/8

Good morning! We are almost there. Here's your Kansas City Chiefs news to get you ready for tomorrow's game. Enjoy!

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Marcus Peters Named NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month from The Mothership

It was just three weeks ago that Kansas City Chiefs rookie first-round pick Marcus Peters was named to the Pro Bowl, and now, he's the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month.

After a December that saw him finish with 15 tackles, 4 interceptions (1 of which was returned for a touchdown), 9 passes defensed and a forced fumble, Peters adds more to what it is a quickly-growing list of accomplishments just eight months after being selected by the Chiefs with the No. 18 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

What We Learned from Thursday's Media Availability from The Mothership

Q: How did intercepting a pass on the first play of your career feel?

PETERS: "Yeah, that was huge. But it wasn't just me making the play, it started with Justin (Houston) putting the right tackle in the quarterback's lap and the quarterback couldn't see. It was perfectly planned out. Only thing I can remember is we won the game."

Q: In what ways are you a better player now than you were then?

PETERS: "It's on film. As we went through the season, I started right here and I had to gradually work to get consistent in my play. I feel like I'm at the level where I can consistently play at the level that I'm playing at. It comes from me getting the confidence from my teammates, they allow me to be myself, allow me to play the game that I'm playing. First, it's the jitters, it's the first game - but it happens, it's football, you're going to get beat sometimes, you just have to make your plays. As long as your team comes out with the W, you get to move on to the next round. So that's all we're trying to do."

Five Things to Watch in Chiefs vs. Texans: Who Can Protect Their QB? from The Mothership

1. Which team protects their quarterback better?

The Chiefs and Texans are both built upon the strength of their defenses, and any team that relies on that side of the ball has an identity predicated on the ability to get pressure on the opposing quarterback.

Of the top 10 teams in the NFL in sacks this season, nine of them made the playoffs.

Even with all of the high-flying, gaudy passing numbers circulating the NFL right now, success on the field is still established by a team's ability to physically get after the guy holding the ball.

Former knockout star and boxing legend Mike Tyson said it best: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

That's basically how football works and the two teams squaring off Saturday afternoon at NRG Stadium in Houston are a clear reflection of this principle.

Opponent Preview: Get to Know the Houston Texans from The Mothership

The Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) head to NRG Stadium to square off against the Houston Texans (9-7) this Saturday at 3:35 p.m. in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.

The Texans, in similar fashion to the Chiefs, rallied after a 2-5 start to make the postseason by winning 7 of their last 9 games. It's head coach Bill O' Brien's first playoff trip in his two years coaching the Texans.

"It's an exciting time and we're just happy to be in it," O'Brien said. "We know we have a huge challenge here with the Chiefs, but it's an exciting time."

Just as Chiefs head coach Andy Reid noted this week, O'Brien explained that although the Texans played the Chiefs in Week 1, a lot has changed over the course of the 17-week season.

"Obviously, the first game, they had Jamaal Charles, and unfortunately he's injured," he said. "There are some things that happened during the course of the year where your team has to weather the storm and variably, the team has to change. I think both teams have changed a bit."

Chiefs vs. Texans: How to Watch and Listen from The Mothership

The official Chiefs Kingdom Bar watch party at KC Live! in the Power & Light District will kick off at 2:30 p.m. and will include appearances by KC Wolf, Chiefs Cheerleaders, the Rumble, Chiefs personality Jillian Carroll, former players and more.

The first 5,000 fans in the door at KC Live! will receive an exclusive Chiefs Kingdom Playoff flag, presented by Hy-Vee. Sports Radio 810 WHB's Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty will host the party on the KC Live! stage, where the game will be shown on the big screen.

Fans can enter to win a 2016 home opener prize package, including two Scout Investments Club Level tickets, complimentary valet parking and two pregame sideline passes by visiting prior to the event.

Inside the Chiefs' last playoff victory: 22 years ago in Houston's Astrodom from The Kansas City Star

The men stretched and jogged and prepared for the biggest moment of some of their professional lives, all the while smirking at the chubby old fellow staring them down.

They all noticed it. Joe Montana. Marcus Allen. Derrick Thomas. Albert Lewis. This was Jan. 16, 1994. Nancy Kerrigan's knees had just been clubbed, Bill Clinton was preparing his first State of the Union address, and the Chiefs faced a franchise that now plays in a different state, in a building that no longer hosts professional football, in an NFL playoff game virtually nobody expected them to win.

The Houston Oilers were favored by a touchdown. They had Warren Moon and the run-and-shoot offense, Buddy Ryan and the 46 defense. They had already beaten the Chiefs by 30 points early in the season, and a few years before Moon threw for 527 yards at Arrowhead Stadium. The Oilers had not lost in more than three months, and before the game, cameras caught a Houston linebacker promising that Montana would be knocked out in the first quarter.

But in those pre-game moments, the Chiefs' stars could not stop giggling.

It's been a long, long wait for a Chiefs' victory in the playoffs from Chiefs Digest

When kickoff opens the Chiefs' AFC wildcard game on Saturday against the Texans in Houston, it will have been 21 years, 11 months and 24 days since the Hunt Family franchise enjoyed postseason success.

That 28-20 victory over the Houston Oilers came in a very different time and place than this weekend's trip to south Texas.

"Man, I didn't know that," said running back Charcandrick West, unaware of a winning drought already in its third decade.

Of course, he was not yet 3 years old when the Chiefs last won.

"We need to change that," West said.

Husain Abdullah, Dee Ford return to Chiefs practice from The Kansas City Star

Abdullah had returned from a concussion but took time earlier for a non-injury related reasons. On Saturday, Abdullah posted on Twitter that his father had died. Abdullah missed the final five regular-season games.

Ford had been undergoing concussion protocol.

Chiefs' Marcus Peters named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month from Chiefs Digest

The NFL previously recognized Peters as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 15 following a two-interception performance, which included a 93-yard interception returned for a touchdown, against the Baltimore Ravens.

Peters, who was named to the Pro Bowl, has been a defensive standout the entire season for the Chiefs.

He finished the regular season fourth in tackles with 60 (53 solo) and his eight interceptions tied for the NFL lead with Cincinnati Bengals free safety Reggie Nelson.

Chiefs' Marcus Peters chosen as NFL's defensive rookie of the month from The Kansas City Star

The honors just keep rolling in for the Marcus Peters.

On Thursday, the NFL chose Peters, the Chiefs' Pro Bowl rookie cornerback, as its defensive rookie of the month for December.

Peters found out Thursday when defensive backs coach Al Harris told him.

Defenses reign as Texans host Chiefs in wild-card game from ESPN

Ganguli: Welcome back to Houston, Adam. That season opener feels like so long ago. What's the biggest thing that has changed for the Chiefs since then?

Teicher: It was long ago, Tania. It was so long ago that NRG Stadium still had a grass playing field. The Chiefs have changed a lot since then as well. The biggest changes have come on offense, where Jamaal Charles is no longer the featured back and Jeremy Maclin has become Alex Smith's go-to receiver. The Chiefs have a versatile 1-2 combination in Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware that has been effective in replacing Charles, while Maclin has rebounded from a slow start to lead the Chiefs in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns.

Ron Parker's blitzing skill gives Chiefs another weapon from The Kansas City Star

He looped around the left tackle, the long way, and Carr fled the pocket by sprinting toward the right sideline. Parker - who ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at his 2011 pro day - quickly closed the distance, dived and tripped Carr for a 1-yard loss.

It was a sack for Parker, his fifth of the season, and a record-breaking one. It was the seventh of his career, setting a Chiefs record for a defensive back — not that he had any idea.

When told of the accomplishment, Parker — a five-year veteran who signed a five-year, $30 million contract extension this offseason — nodded with a surprised-but-satisfied look.

Chiefs' defense hasn't struggled, but now it's whole for the playoffs from The Associated Press via ESPN

So when Houston went down more than a month ago with a hyperextended knee, and Hali followed him out of action with a broken thumb, the loss was as noticeable to Berry as anyone.

Not just in their physical presence, either.

"It changes a lot just from a mental aspect, having that experience on the field, knowing what to look for, being in a lot of games," Berry said. "Pre-snap reads and stuff you don't see from a physical standpoint, but mentally having the team's awareness up -- that's big."

Their return couldn't come at a better time.

The road Chiefs, Texans took to Saturday's AFC Wild Card Game from The Kansas City Star

The Chiefs are back where they started.

On Sept. 13, the Chiefs opened their season with a 27-20 win over the Texans in Houston. It was a fleeting moment of success, and things turned sour. The Texans also had troubles early in the season, and at one point neither team seemed like a good bet to make the playoffs.

However, both teams got things straightened out and will play on Saturday (3:35 p.m. on ESPN and ABC) in the AFC Wild Card Game in Houston. Here is each team's road to the playoffs.

Chiefs, Texans renew acquaintances after taking similar paths to postseason from Chiefs Digest

"It's a beautiful thing, really," Stephenson said. "Two teams crawling out of the hole, fighting our way back. Everybody basically turned their backs on us, told us we weren't good enough to make the playoffs. It's going to be a pretty nice matchup."

Chiefs long snapper James Winchester agreed with Stephenson.

"There are similarities in the teams," Winchester said. "Both teams are in the playoffs, started off slow, but props to them as well. It was pretty fun to meet them the first game and first in the playoffs. It's kind of like déjà vu going back to Houston."

Another common factor between the two teams surrounded the timing of the bye week.

Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware have kept Chiefs' running game alive from ESPN

Charcandrick West occasionally envisions himself with a running style similar to that of Kansas City Chiefs teammate Spencer Ware. Then he'll stop himself because the vision is too painful.

"I can't go out there like he does and try to run everybody over,'' West said. "I'll be sitting on the sidelines hurting.''

West and Ware do have different running styles, but they've made a nice 1-2 combination and kept the Chiefs' running game going since they lost Jamaal Charles for the season because of a torn ACL in a Week 5 game against the Chicago Bears.

Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley could get involved in kick returns from The Kansas City Star

Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub was asked if Frankie Hammond Jr. would continue to return punts.

"He could be," Toub said. "He could be the guy. We have Jeremy Maclin, we have other guys who can do it as well."

Hammond has averaged 8.2 yards per return since taking over for De'Anthony Thomas. But he hasn't broken one. Maclin's big play ability to come into play here.

Alex Smith is right where he's supposed to be: With the Chiefs, in the playoffs from Chiefs Digest

Without a quarterback capable of playing well and producing points, it's darn near impossible for a team to win one of the 11 games that make up the NFL's postseason tournament, let alone string together multiple victories needed for a championship.

Certainly, it's more than a one-man effort, but the effect a quarterback's play has on winning or losing in the playoffs cannot be ignored.

The Chiefs play the Houston Texans on Saturday holding an edge at the position thanks to Alex Smith.

Alex Smith has been as valuable for his scrambling as his passing from ESPN

"He's very elusive, he understands protection, he understands when defenses are pressuring him and he's not afraid to take off," Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "It's a natural instinct that he has. Most quarterbacks have the ability to do that. And I think sometimes it gets overlooked a little bit, the fact that he can run and run well. You saw that last week with a couple big scrambles for us to keep us on the field.

"It's something that we don't talk to him about -- scrambling all the time, obviously -- but when he can, he makes the most of it and usually gets us the first down."

Andy Reid's leadership, calm demeanor make for an excellent Commander in Chief from Chiefs Digest

Arguably the lowest point of the Chiefs' campaign arrived after Week 6's loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The defeat sent the Chiefs on a five-game slide, leading many to write off the team at 1-5.

There was doubt outside of Arrowhead Stadium, but coach Andy Reid didn't panic over the mounting losses in weekly battles.

He remained calm with a view to the big picture, knowing 10 games remained on the schedule. The leader in Reid believed in his players and coaching staff, and they reciprocated the trust in him.

And like a good commanding general, Reid used the moment to rally his troops to face the circumstances head on.

Scouting the referees for wild-card weekend from ESPN

Analysis: In his second year as a referee, Torbert made one of the league's most high-profile mistakes this season. He failed to note Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel reporting as eligible in Week 7, instead calling a penalty for illegal formation. ... Torbert's crew was among the league's most active in calling the battle between receivers and defensive backs, finishing in a tie for the most combined offensive pass interference (12) and defensive pass interference (20) penalties. ... The crew also tied for the most unsportsmanlike conduct calls (10) and had the third-most offensive holding penalties (62).

NFL rumors roundup from ESPN

La Canfora reports the Eagles will interview Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson on Sunday, a day after the Chiefs face the Houston Texans to open the wild-card round.

Former Chiefs players scour Arrowhead sidelines, looking for violations of NFL rules for uniforms from The Kansas City Star

On any given Sunday, Chiefs fans will find former linebacker Shawn Barber standing on the sidelines at Arrowhead Stadium. Barber is not trying to relive his glory days on the gridiron, but he does have a paid job to perform.

At each home game, Barber is the uniform inspector for the Chiefs hired by the NFL to report violations of the league's guidelines for apparel and equipment. Ricky Siglar, Barber's colleague and a former Chiefs tackle, handles inspections for the visiting teams that come to Arrowhead.

The two former Chiefs are among a cadre of retired players who handle these duties for the 32 NFL teams.

Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Alan Faneca finalists for HOF from ESPN

The class of 2016 will be decided on Feb. 6, the day before the Super Bowl, with inductions scheduled for August.

Also making the cut to 15 are Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison, Joe Jacoby, Edgerrin James, John Lynch, Orlando Pace and Kurt Warner.

Andy Reid's belief spurred Chiefs to 10-game winning streak from The Toronto Sun

"We had a meeting and basically just said, ‘We're in this room for a reason,'" said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who caught 87 passes for 1,088 yards and eight TDs after being cut by Philadelphia last March.

"We believe that we have the type of talent in that locker room to beat anybody. We just had to get back to the basics — that's running, tackling, catching, throwing, everything that goes into playing football."

Stats bear that out, starting with the Chiefs' surprising 23-13 defeat of Pittsburgh in Week 7.

During the 10-game win streak K.C. scored 28.1 points per game, compared to 19.5 before, and held opponents to a league-low 12.8 per game.

NFL Playoff Preview: Chiefs, Texans are mirror images in many ways from Yahoo! Sports

Why they'll win: The Chiefs are balanced offensively - quarterback Alex Smith hasn't thrown for more than 255 yards in a game during their wins streak, while they've topped 100 yards rushing as a team in all but one game. If they don't get in an early hole they can stick with what's been working.

Why they'll lose: Though their 10-game win streak is impressive, the Chiefs faced only two playoff teams during that run, and both were weeks ago: On Oct. 25 they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers(without Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured), and two weeks later they beat the Denver Broncos. The Texans won a weak AFC South, but they're one of the best teams the Chiefs have faced in nearly two months.

Early benching strained Brian Hoyer's strong relationship with Bill O'Brien from ESPN

Brian Hoyer admitted this week that being benched during the Houston Texans' season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs affected his very close relationship with Texans coach Bill O'Brien.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Billy," Hoyer said. "So obviously that wasn't the best of our relationship, but here we are right where we wanted to be. When I signed my contract, this is where we wanted to be. We wanted to be in the playoffs. So it doesn't matter how you get there. We're here now. It's a new season. My relationship with him couldn't be better."

He'll now lead the Texans into their wild-card game against the Chiefs at home on Saturday.

Pro Football Spot Podcast: Wildcard podcast: CBS' Joel Corry & PFS' Vanessa de Beaumont join us

Who's at home for wild-card round? Not favorites from The Associated Press via The Centre Daily Times

Considering that the four visitors have never swept in the opening round of the playoffs since the current format was adopted for the 1990 season, one of those teams, at the least, might escape.

Still, the prevailing opinion is that the Chiefs should be favored at Houston, the Steelers at Cincinnati, the Seahawks at Minnesota, and the Packers at Washington.

Doesn't matter, Texans star receiver DeAndre Hopkins said.

"I'm not going to go out there and change the way I play or the way I think because it's a playoff game, honestly," he said.

"I'm going to go out and do what I've been doing. I feel like a lot of guys think like that. It's just the outside people. They put more emphasis on the playoffs. But in the locker room, guys are going to do what they have to do."

NFL Playoffs: Are The Kansas City Chiefs The Best AFC Team Entering The Playoffs? from Inquisitr

Kansas City played the 20th toughest schedule in the NFL, but they do have victories over three teams currently in the AFC playoffs - Denver, Pittsburgh and Houston. In addition, four of the Chiefs' losses have come against teams in the playoffs - Denver, Green Bay, Cincinnati and Minnesota.

The Chiefs started the season 1-5 but has been playing some of the best football in the league the past 10 weeks. Kansas City is averaging 27.8 points and permitting 12.8 points a game during their NFL-best winning streak. They have outscored their opponents by 150 points during that span.

Football Physics: Will The Best Team Win? from Forbes

The NFL regular season wound down this past weekend, followed as usual by a spate of coach-firings and other reshuffling among the weaker teams in the league. Meanwhile, the twelve teams that made the playoffs- the Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Racial Slurs, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC, and the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Pittsburgh Steelers- prepare for the playoffs that start this weekend leading up to the Super Bowl in early February. This will, nominally, determine the best team of the year, the only one entitled to call themselves champions and make ludicrously tacky rings to mark that victory.

Of course, a popular topic of debate across sports radio and the like is whether the Super Bowl champion can really be considered the "best" team of a given year.

NFL playoff previews: Chiefs to continue winning run and Green Bay to crash out from The Guardian

They have not won a playoff game for 22 years but the superstitious among you might already have spotted that the last time they did so, it was with a former San Francisco 49er at quarterback.

Alex Smith is no Joe Montana, but he is an underestimated player who brings valuable experience to this stage. He led the 49ers to an NFC title game in 2011 and might have gone one further if he had been given the chance a year later. In three career playoff games, he has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Between him and Brian Hoyer, there's no question who I would want behind center with a game on the line.

Chiefs to win

Which AFC Wild Card Team Is Most Likely To Pull The Upset? from CBS Boston

The Houston Texans, meanwhile, beat out the rest of the woeful AFC South at 9-7 but face the hottest team in the AFC in the Kansas City Chiefs, who march into Houston as 3.5-point favorites. After starting the season 1-5, the Chiefs reeled off 10 straight wins to close out the regular season and came within a Broncos loss of leapfrogging Denver for the AFC West crown. They have several legitimate game-changers on defense, led by pass rushing monster Justin Houston, stalwart safety Eric Berry, and defensive rookie of the year candidate Marcus Peters.

It will be a tall task for the Texans offense to move the ball against Kansas City, especially considering the Chiefs match up so well with Houston's strength.

The Cold Truth from MMQB

Derrick Johnson, ILB, Chiefs

Calling a three-time Pro Bowler an "unexpected" contributor seems disingenuous, but it would have been easy to write off Johnson coming into the year. He was 32 when this season began, and few injuries are more frightening for an aging player than the torn Achilles that Johnson suffered in Week 1 of last season.

All Johnson did was storm back and have one of the best seasons of his career. Without Johnson last season, the Chiefs' defense finished 26th in Football Outsiders' rushing DVOA. With Johnson back this year, Kansas City jumped to 11th. That rise is about more than Johnson, but outside of its star linebacker, most of the personnel in Kansas City's front seven have remained constant. Add that to Johnson's startling work in coverage, and you have one of the best inside linebackers in the league, a year after a devastating injury threatened to derail his career.

The one thing each playoff team does better than the rest from The Washington Post

Kansas City Chiefs

Bullying teams in the trenches: Despite injuries at running back, the Chiefs' rushing attack never missed a beat because of this underrated offensive line. Three different running backs - Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and Jamaal Charles - had 100-yard games this season. On defense, Kansas City has one of the best front sevens, led by pass-rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

Why history says Chiefs won't cover against the Texans from The New York Post

This year's Texans took out the Bengals (!), Jets and Saints — in succession. In their second half, Kansas City beat Denver in the game Peyton Manning was compelled to abandon (four picks), then subdued seven weeks' worth of cannon fodder, including Chargers, Ravens and Raiders on the road. Texans, for one unit.

Veteran nose tackle Vince Wilfork provides Texans plenty of playoff experience from The Houston Chronicle

When veteran nose tackle Vince Wilfork played for the New England Patriots, going to the playoffs became practically an annual experience.

Nine times Wilfork reached the playoffs during his 11-year tenure with the Patriots, including winning two Super Bowl titles.

Now, Wilfork is providing his significant playoff experience to the Texans as they prepare for Saturday's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. With 21 postseason games played, including 19 starts, the 34-year-old Wilfork leads the Texans in playoff experience followed by safety Quintin Demps' eight playoff games and seven apiece for punter Shane Lechler, offensive tackle Chris Clark and wide receiver Nate Washington.

Watt, Cushing talk about staying calm during playoff storm from The Houston Chronicle

"You treat it just like a normal game," Watt said. "There is some added emotion, added energy and added excitement, (but) you need to harbor that and use it the right way and channel it to use it for positive. Don't let it overwhelm you. I think I've got a handle on how to do that. But I think for the most part you don't treat it a whole lot differently than the other game besides using the crowd's energy."

Hoyer, Smith post similar season totals despite disparity in playing time from The Houston Chronicle

In terms of their passing statistics, Brian Hoyer and Alex Smith are surprisingly similar given their disparity in playing time this season. Smith, who attempted 101 more passes than Hoyer, started all 16 games for the Chiefs but threw only one more touchdown pass, 20 to 19. Both were intercepted seven times.

Ironically, Smith got sacked 45 times - more than all except Blake Bortles (51) and Aaron Rodgers (46) - to Hoyer's 25, but it was the Texans quarterback who suffered two concussions.

Texans second-half defense second to none from The Houston Chronicle

Although the Texans finished third in total defense based on yards allowed behind Denver and Seattle and were seventh overall in scoring defense, but nobody came close to them in second-half scoring defense. They allowed only 102 points - just over a touchdown per game on average.

Oddly, the Texans' first- and second-half yards surrendered were almost the same, but points permitted in the third and fourth quarters were about a half what the Texans gave up in the first and second quarters. Coach Bill O'Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel both denied the disparity had anything to do with them giving inspirational halftime oratories.

2015 Houston Texans Look Like 2012 Baltimore Ravens from CBS Houston

The Houston Texans start their Super Bowl quest on Saturday at NRG Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs. If the Texans are to make a Super Bowl run, they will do so without a star QB. However, Houston does have the pieces on defense to win the Super Bowl, and that defense starts with defensive end J.J. Watt, perhaps the best defensive player in the NFL.

Seattle had the Legion of Boom in 2013 when it won the NFL championship, and even the 2012 Baltimore Ravens had an aging Ray Lewis on defense. However, those Ravens also received a stellar postseason effort from QB Joe Flacco and Watt would need that kind of support from QB Brian Hoyer this January if the Texans are to make a run at the championship. In fact, it's those Ravens the current Houston team most resembles in terms of championship comparisons. If the 2015 Texans end up winning it all, it's because they followed the 2012 Baltimore blueprint.

Every team has a big flaw to fix but also a calling card from The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier


- Why they'll hoist the Lombardi: Because they've already established themselves as miracle workers. After a 1-5 start, they won a franchise-record 10 consecutive games to reach the playoffs. They did it with a ferocious pass rush - All-Pro linebacker Justin Houston should be back from a knee injury -€” and a balanced, versatile offense that rarely makes mistakes.

- Why they won't: Their luck has to run out eventually. They won a series of close games during their remarkable winning streak, taking advantage of a soft late schedule. But there are no soft opponents in the playoffs.

Texans' Crennel a master at teaching defense from The Houston Chronicle

The professor you are afraid to disappoint yet not sure you can please.

He gives looks of bewilderment when the play of his charges indicates they don't understand what he has taught and nods of approval when it is clear his message has been received and understood.

Little wonder Romeo Crennel has said that if he were not a football coach, he would have been a teacher.

The Texans' defensive coordinator is one of the best instructors the NFL has known. His message will be key to the Texans' effort to beat the Chiefs in a wild-card playoff game on Saturday.

Which playoff team should Bears fans root for? from RedEye

Kansas City Chiefs: Talk about a Cinderella story in their own right - the Bears beat these guys?! The Chiefs closed the season on a 10-game winning streak to make the playoffs. Will the magic run out? I don't know, but you can't play football in glass cleats.

Blanket Coverage: Who could emerge as unlikely postseason heroes? from Sports Illustrated

Chiefs WR Albert Wilson:  A 5'9" undrafted free agent in 2014 out of Georgia State, Wilson is built well and has explosive speed. Look for the Chiefs to try to spring him on a few deep shots and slip screens. He can take it all the way.

PFT's wild-card picks from ProFootballTalk

Florio's take: The Chiefs have won 10 in a row. The only win not in that streak came in Week One, when Kansas City plastered the Texans in Houston. And so the reasonable conclusion is that it will happen again. But that was 17 weeks ago, and long regular-season winning streaks only add pressure at this point. The Texans have the home-field advantage and a chip on their shoulder. The Chiefs vividly recall the collapse in Indy from two years ago, and they carry the burden of being expected to win. It all adds up to the supposedly inferior team, sparking by a pregame frenzy that looks like a KISS concert, advancing to the next round. They may not get any farther, but that's a matter to be addressed next week.

Florio's pick: Texans 23, Chiefs 20.

Marcus Peters caps rookie year as defensive rookie of the month from ProFootballTalk

There are a lot of players who have played a role in the 10-game winning streak that ended the Chiefs season, many of whom haven't received honors that call attention to how well they've played this season.

Rookie cornerback Marcus Peters does not fall into that group.

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