Editor’s note: We welcome writer Jeremy Brener of Battle Red Blog — our sister site covering the Houston Texans — for Five Questions with the Enemy as we head into the Divisional round playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Texans this Sunday.
1) What did you learn about the Texans in their comeback win against the Bills in the Wild Card round?
I don’t know if I learned that Deshaun Watson is elite — but it certainly reaffirmed that idea. Watson is able to put his team on his back and carry them in the playoffs, which is nice to see. It makes trading up for him that much more worth it.
2) What is the level of importance of having Will Fuller on the field against the Chiefs? Why? Does he play in this game?
It’s huge. The numbers speak for themselves, but it forces attention to go off of the rest of Houston’s weapons. With attention on Fuller, it takes attention off of DeAndre Hopkins, Watson, Kenny Stills, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. Any of those guys can make game-changing plays on any given play.
3) If you were an offensive coordinator, how would you attack the Texans defense? How did J.J. Watt look to you in his first game back?
Watts was a bit rusty, as I expected. Less than three months removed from tearing your pec should not produce a game where you are automatically 100%. The Chiefs run game has not been the best this season, but the Texans proved last weekend that mobile quarterbacks can be challenging for them to take down. Eric Bieniemy should design some quarterback runs for Patrick Mahomes and should dial Travis Kelce’s number early and often. The Texans also don’t have the best track record against opposing tight ends.
4) Who is an under-the-radar player on offense and defense that has made a major impact for the Texans this year? Why?
On offense, Darren Fells has flown under the radar simply because he does not have the same star power as a Hopkins or Fuller. Fells has a career-high seven touchdowns this year and is a big target in the red zone. He helped convert a crucial third down in the red zone last week to set up the go-ahead touchdown that nobody seemed to give him credit for.
On defense, Zach Cunningham has been one of the top linebackers in the league this season and nobody seems to have given him a whole lot of credit — which is unfortunate. He’s a Pro Bowler and a Top 100 Player in the league, but I could see him get snubbed from both of those lists this year. He’s the Texans leading tackler and when he has a bad game, the Texans defense as a whole usually has a bad game. Thankfully, Cunningham has been great and consistent all year long.
5) How does Sunday play out?
I think the Chiefs pull it out eventually — but the Texans will play better than most will give them credit for. It would not shock me if they pulled out a win. Nonetheless... 31-27 Chiefs.