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Chiefs-Texans predictions: Picks from the AP staff aren’t unanimous

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Let’s predict the Chiefs-Texans winner.

Our picks and predictions for the KC Chiefs and Houston Texans game is in. Often here at Arrowhead Pride, a Chiefs blog, everyone picks the Chiefs to win. Not so this week with the Chiefs just a 2-point favorite headed into Houston.

Our picks for the game from the Arrowhead Pride staff are below. Find more Chiefs-Texans predictions here.

Chiefs 16 Texans 13

I can see why people are picking against the Chiefs in this game. That Texans defensive line is not a good matchup for the Chiefs and some of the vertical elements that DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller bring are not a good matchup either. Still, the Chiefs are undefeated and they’ve earned folks picking them on the road against a good team. It’s a defensive struggle but the second half Chiefs pull it out. -Joel Thorman

Chiefs 24 Texans 28

While I'd like to pick the Chiefs, I think traveling to and winning in Houston on Sunday night will be too tall of a task, especially given all the recent offensive line woes. As of earlier this week, Andy Reid couldn't even confirm who would start at right guard. Whether that's true or just gamesmanship, it's never a good sign when the line is this up in the air against the likes of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. The Chiefs also have to figure out how to stop rookie QB Deshaun Watson, who put on a 57-point clinic against Dick Lebeau and the Titans last week. I hope I'm wrong for your sake, PrideHeads, but I see an end to the undefeated streak in Houston. -Pete Sweeney

Chiefs 31 Texans 13

I'm sticking with my guns here. I don't care if Watson had two great games against the Patriots and the Titans — they have been playing horrible defense so far in 2017. When I watched Watson's tape before the draft, and in his game vs the Titans I saw a quarterback who looked susceptible to throwing interceptions. Marcus Peters is coming off a bad game where he said he would not play "hella weak" next week. A perfect storm is brewing and I don't think there's any way the Chiefs don't pick off Watson more than once with one of them coming back for six. Pro Football Reference has the Texans rated as the ninth best defense in the NFL, so they haven't been playing at as an elite level like years past. There is not much about this Texans team that intimidates me even after impressive games against the Patriots and Titans. The Chiefs will smack the Texans with some cold hard reality on Sunday night. -Gary McKenzie

Chiefs 27 Texans 20

The Chiefs have made quarterbacks look worse than they do against everyone else this year (except for Carson Wentz, somehow), and Watson hasn't faced anything as complicated as what Bob Sutton will throw at him on Sunday night. The Texans are a good team, but the only time the Chiefs have lost to them recently was due to an Alex Smith meltdown last season. That's not happening this year. -Seth Keysor

Chiefs 21 Texans 20

The Chiefs are entering their most difficult stretch of the season. Starting Sunday, they play three games in 12 days. Two on the road against good football teams (Houston and Oakland) and one against the team that ended their season last year (Pittsburgh). How they navigate that 12 days might be the difference between where they position themselves for the playoffs. All three opponents have playoff aspirations and all three could be opponents in January. Through the first quarter of the 2016 season, people were talking Carson Wentz as a potential MVP candidate. After that he regressed, as there was enough tape on him to build a plan to slow him down. It's the typical rookie quarterback cycle. The Chiefs have 3 1/2 games of film on Texans QB Deshaun Watson. I expect them to have a good plan to beat him. The biggest question for me is if the offensive line can hold up enough. Alex Smith has been sacked 16 times (third most in the league), and the line isn't getting any healthier. This is not the game you want to start this stretch with. On the road, beat up on the line. The Chiefs pull this one out in a very physical game that may make the outlook for the next 11 days after less positive. -Kent Swanson

Chiefs 21 Texans 27

Look, I don't pick against the Chiefs. And, why would I start now? The best team in football is now 4-0 with gritty wins against quality opponents. They've been explosive on offense, solid on defense. They're getting very good QB play, great RB play and they've fought through injuries every damn week.

But they aren't going 16-0. They will probably lose 3-4 games this season. They've had a significant injury each week and that will catch up to them if it continues. This week, they go on the road against another playoff team with a nasty defensive line. The Texans also feature a good RB, a great WR and a dynamic rookie QB. Deshaun Watson, the second or third best QB in this year's draft after Mahomes, is starting to come into his own after a monster game last week.

The Chiefs have handled tough defenses so far but have been susceptible to running QBs and big pass plays. They've played well on the road in primetime, but these two teams are pretty evenly matched on paper and this game could go either way. For this week, I'll go against my optimistic nature and pick the Chiefs to drop a close game. -Matt Stagner