Editor’s note: We welcome in contributor Jeremy Brener of Battle Red Blog — our sister site covering the Houston Texans — for “Five questions with the enemy” as we head into the Week 6 matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Texans, set to take place at Arrowhead Stadium for Sunday Night Football.
1) Where do you stand on the Patrick Mahomes vs. Deshaun Watson debate? Why?
Debate? What debate? Patrick Mahomes is clearly a step ahead of Deshaun Watson, and the stats prove it. Oftentimes, we will see flashes of greatness from Watson (like last week) but Mahomes does it far more consistently and with a lot more flash. I think Watson has the potential to be on the same level of Mahomes, but he needs more consistency in his performances.
2) As you watch Houston, what have been your impressions of Carlos Hyde this season?
Carlos Hyde looks like he’s fighting for his NFL life — and he’s winning the fight. Hyde fights for every yard and it’s such a welcoming feature of his game. Playing for four teams in the span of a year can be difficult, but I think Hyde has found a home in Houston with his desire to pile on yards on every play.
3) Besides just the statistics, what tells you JJ Watt could be back to his old self?
I would not say he’s back to his old self, only because his old self can never be duplicated. However, he does lead the league in quarterback hits (13), the one stat that showcases how strong he has been so far.
But his strong season has been evident by things that don’t make the box score. His sheer presence on the field attracts double teams and allow guys like D.J. Reader and Whitney Mercilus to get to the quarterback easier. And he draws holds often, which sets teams back 10 yards every time. As long as Watt is in the trenches, the Houston defense has the potential to be dangerous.
4) Tyrann Mathieu only spent one year in Houston — and he was named a captain. What made him a great Texan?
He loves to win. His numbers in Houston were not career-highs and his play on the field was not indicative of his absolute best, but he loved winning. I give Tyrann Mathieu some credit for the team’s turnaround last season from 0-3 to 9-3. He signed with KC because he wanted to win a ring, and I think it was one of the best places for him to land.
5) Give one player on each side of the ball that fans should be paying more attention to. Why?
On offense, tight end Darren Fells. He quietly found the end zone twice against the Falcons and has been a pleasant surprise this season. His three touchdowns for the season have already matched a career-high for the sixth-year veteran.
On defense, defensive tackle D.J. Reader has four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks and has been stuffing the run all season. He should pose to be a challenge for LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams on Sunday.