Before the Kansas City Chiefs' 34-28 victory against the Denver Broncos in Week 14, all of Arrowhead Pride's contributors picked the Chiefs to win. But very few of us (more precisely, just 4%) thought the game would be close — and nobody thought Denver would score 28 points! So our aggregate prediction of a 26-13 game was 30 points off. To their credit, however, about one in five of our readers thought it would be a close game. Still, one in three readers — and almost half of the staff — thought Kansas City would win in a blowout.
Let's see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
Price Carter (@priceacarter)
I know we sat here and did this last week, too, but there really is not much for the Texans in this game. Between the massive amount of injuries and lack of overall talent, it is tough to see the Texans keeping it close. The only way is if the Chiefs turn the ball over as the Cowboys did. Kansas City needs to take care of the ball, and the rest should be easy.
The Texans have been one of the most static defenses in the league, blitzing at one of the lowest rates and playing a lot of zone coverage. Look for Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster to have prominent roles against a zone defense. Take care of the ball, stay healthy and get the W.
Chiefs 29, Texans 10
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
The Chiefs aren't going to show the same level of complacency against the Texans as they did against the Broncos. If they do, then the Chiefs Kingdom might have a meltdown. Kansas City will put its foot down and keep it there.
Chiefs 38, Texans 10
Nate Christensen (@natech32)
I follow the NFL almost religiously, and I'm not sure I can name 10 players on the Texans. What they're currently doing in their rebuild is something I haven't seen often. Without running back Dameon Pierce, they simply have no offensive structure to work. The Cowboys game was only close because of turnovers, and I doubt the Texans can pull out 3-4 from the Chiefs. This will be over by the 3rd quarter.
Chiefs 37, Texans 9
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
The Texans have a terrible record — but Lovie Smith is no fool. And after a string of blowout losses in recent weeks, his team nearly stole a home game from the Cowboys. I think the Chiefs are right: you shouldn't take any NFL team for granted — even if you're pretty sure your team will win.
Chiefs 27, Texans 16
Maurice Elston (@recenickelz)
This game should not be close. The only way this game is close is if the Chiefs turn the ball over, and unfortunately, they have done that eight games in a row. However, I expect this will be a game they clean things up. This is the perfect time to put together a complete game in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams. Trent McDuffie gets his first interception this week.
Chiefs 42, Texans 17
Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)
The Kansas City Chiefs were on their way to a blowout win over the Denver Broncos last week, but the Chiefs allowed it to become a game. There is another opportunity for a blowout win against the one-win Houston Texans, who rely heavily on their running game led by rookie running back Dameon Pierce (but he is out due to an ankle injury). Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had one of his worst games statistically in Denver but should bounce back nicely against a far inferior defense. Plus, it looks like wide receiver Kadarius Toney is a possibility to return, which will also boost the offense. The Chiefs should roll as the regular season dwindles down.
Chiefs 34, Texans 17
Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)
Everyone is so wrapped up in how last week ended, and rightfully so. However, let's not forget the Chiefs were up 27-0 at one point. Expect a similar start this Sunday in Houston without the comeback. I feel comfortable saying Patrick Mahomes won't throw three picks in his home state. The Chiefs roll.
Chiefs 41, Texans 17
Zach Gunter (@ZachGunter08)
The Chiefs never give us fans any room to breathe, do they? I mean, 27-0 and the final is 34-28. Anyway, things should be a little cleaner against Houston. The Texans put up a valiant fight against the Dallas Cowboys, but I think that's more of a credit to Dallas' inconsistency rather than the Texans being okay. The Chiefs should handle this one easily.
Chiefs 35, Texans 14
Conner Helm (@ArrowheadConner)
The Texans are likely the worst team in the league, but no one on the Chiefs' sideline should overlook them come Sunday. Houston took the Cowboys to the wire last week and might have enough grit to keep this within a 14-point game. Watch for Jeff Driskel to be used like a dollar-discount Josh Allen this week against a Chiefs team that struggles against rushing quarterbacks.
We haven't seen the Chiefs play their best in a few weeks. Hopefully, this is the week the Chiefs dominate an inferior opponent. If the Chiefs want to prove they’re considered a Super Bowl contender, they must blow the Houston Texans out. I expect the Chiefs to jump to an early lead, then let Isiah Pacheco eat to close the game.
Chiefs 31, Texans 16
Caleb James (@CJScoobs)
This game should not be close, and this is the perfect opportunity for the Chiefs to get critical players to rest while getting as many reps as possible for the young players on the roster. Offensively, the Chiefs will likely keep it vanilla, and I expect they will let Isiah Pacheco carry the rock a good number of times. This could also be a game where they want Skyy Moore involved in the playcalling. Both rookies could play big roles for the offense.
Defensively the Chiefs are catching somewhat of a break with Texans running back Dameon Pierce being out. This is a game where the Chiefs should look to take the ball away from Houston and put the game out of contention early. The Texans went blow for blow with the Dallas Cowboys last week, so they are capable on the right Sunday of pulling an upset, but it feels like the Chiefs will be locked in after the events of the game in Denver last week.
Chiefs 35 Texans 10
Ashley Justice (@Justice_Paur88)
After last week, the Chiefs looked like they had no idea what to do with a lead of that size. It appeared that they thought it might be fun to let the Broncos come back from a 27-point deficit "for funsies" to see what would happen. I would love not to have flashbacks to a time when the Chiefs would have a lead and then let it slip away, so here's hoping the Texans don't get the chance to mount a comeback of any kind. If the Chiefs learned anything from last week, they go up early and actually stay up — by a lot. This team should not lose to the Houston Texans; they should not trail them for even a minute. Any Given Sunday, Any Schmiven Schmunday.
Chiefs 38, Texans 13
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
I think the Texans are a more formidable team than their record shows. I'm surprised they've only picked up one win, but I won't be surprised when the Chiefs win this game. That feisty team is without some of its best skill-position players and rolling out a two-quarterback offense. The Houston offensive line will challenge the Chiefs' defensive line, but Kansas City controls this game and wins the AFC West.
Chiefs 34, Texans 13
Aaron Ladd (aaronladd0)
The Texans stink, right? Or is last week a better indication of who Houston hopes to be? Lovie Smith's squad outplayed the Cowboys for the better part of 3.5 quarters last week…in Dallas. Yes, they're 1-11-1, but I don't expect the Texans to roll over Sunday in Houston. I do expect a more focused Patrick Mahomes. "I know when I'm messing up," KC's QB1 proclaimed postgame in Denver after an uncharacteristic three-interception performance. Chiefs cruise in a noon kick.
Chiefs 35, Texans 21
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
Give the Texans credit, they have grit, and they don't go down easy— we saw a perfect example of this last week against Dallas when they played them to the wire. Texans head coach Lovie Smith should give the ball to rookie phenom running back Dameon Pierce 30+ times and force the Chiefs to prove that they have improved the horrendous tackling that has plagued them recently.
That said, there is just too much riding on this game for the Chiefs to roll over. A win clinches the AFC West for Andy Reid and the boys for the seventh consecutive season. This is also the first time Patrick Mahomes has played a professional game in his home state. Expect him to be fired up and show out. The Chiefs win this one by a couple of scores.
Chiefs 34, Texans 21
Ricko Mendoza (@ricko_mendoza_)
Kansas City has won two out of their last three games against Houston. In each of those games, Mahomes has thrown for at least three touchdowns — including a five-touchdown game in the 2020 AFC Divisional Playoff Round. I expect similar things this week with Kansas City's offense putting up points early and often, then closing things out by exploiting Houston's biggest weakness — a run defense allowing a league-worst 165.8 rushing yards per game. That being said, the Texans play hard for their head coach Lovie Smith; if the Chiefs aren't careful, this game could end up similar to last week, where they let their opponent back in it. As long as they've learned from this mistake, Sunday should end with a stress-free, division-clinching victory.
Chiefs 34, Texans 17
Stan Nelson (@chiefsfanstan)
This is yet another game that, on paper, suggests that the Kansas City Chiefs should win this one going away with ease. But that has not been the Chiefs’ MO this year, with talent far below them. They continue to struggle against the spread and allow inferior teams to hang around far too long into the fourth quarter of games. I am hoping the Chiefs finally gain that killer instinct that they are going to need going into the home stretch and the playoffs. Look for the Chiefs to execute their game plan early and often and keep the pedal down until the game is out of reach. It is time to light the fire for the playoffs.
Chiefs 38, Texans 20
Tom Ruprecht (@truprecht)
The Texans put a big scare into the Cowboys, which hopefully grabbed the Chiefs' attention and will prevent overconfidence. The experience in Denver, meanwhile, should remind the Chiefs not to let the Texans back in if and when they jump to an early lead. I think this will be the comfortable win we were expecting last week. Mahomes erases the three picks and puts up big numbers.
Chiefs 38, Texans 10
Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)
Do we think the Texans can actually beat the Chiefs? The Chiefs survived the Denver Broncos last week, and the Texans almost knocked off the Dallas Cowboys. This should be an easy win for the Chiefs, especially since we do not know who is even starting yet for the Texans. Patrick Mahomes will have a stellar game as he returns to his home state.
Chiefs 35, Texans 10
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
Let's not overthink this one. Yeah, the Chiefs are everyone's Super Bowl. Except playing across the state at Jerry World last weekend was already the overachieving game for the Texans. I would be more worried about how last week went if the way Houston played — with a gimmicky two-quarterback rotation — was likely sustainable for multiple weeks. They put a ton on film — and got royally beaten up doing it. They lost their best offensive weapon in running back Dameon Pierce. After losing former Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson to injury, the Texans appear set to replace him with Tremon Smith — the 2018 sixth-rounder Kansas City attempted to switch to running back before cutting. A motivated Mahomes will turn in a clean game, while the Chiefs will use Isiah Pacheco against Houston's 30th-ranked run defense to shorten the game.
Chiefs 34, Texans 13
Nick Schwerdt (@nick_schwerdt)
It's tough to imagine the Texans staying competitive in this one. They're steamrolling their way to the #1 overall pick while the Chiefs are gearing up for the postseason. Short of Travis Kelce breaking his arm or Chris Jones having his leg amputated, I feel pretty confident in Kansas City's chances.
Chiefs 31, Texans 14
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
The Texans are coming off a game that would have been the upset of the NFL season if they could have closed out a football game against the Dallas Cowboys. They didn't, and Dallas avoided an extremely embarrassing loss. Kansas City is coming off a relatively down game against the Broncos–but I think that works against Houston this week. The Texans have injuries to almost every player you could name on their roster, and there's just no way they can do enough to truly slow the Chiefs' offense. This should be a big Isiah Pacheco game — though I think the Chiefs will be able to get what they want offensively.
Chiefs 31, Texans 13
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
It's been almost two years since the Chiefs came back from 24-0 to beat the Texans by 20 points en route to a Super Bowl title. It was the height of Mahomes Magic and a history-making run. The Texans seem to be on the other end of many historic Chiefs wins — remember Knile Davis ending the playoff win drought with 106 yards of opening kickoff greatness? This should not have to be one of those games. The Texans were bad before all of their good players got hurt. It is a get-right game for Mahomes and time for the rookies to keep ascending. Watch for Pacheco, Moore, McDuffie and Karlaftis to have big days as the Chiefs roll.
Chiefs 42, Texans 24
Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)
A good old-fashioned stat game for Kansas City is on deck — or it should be, at least. While winning is by far the priority, it sure would feel good to see the team have a clean, dominant performance against a Texans team already planning January vacations. Look for Kansas City to improve their overall turnover margin in this one as well — something in the neighborhood of plus-two on the day.
Chiefs 31, Texans 14
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
The Chiefs heard the fuss this week about how they can't dominate a lousy team. They finally do that.
Chiefs 34, Texans 0
Dakota Watson (@dwatson_56)
The Chiefs are coming off a down performance, which is not what I thought I would be writing after jumping out to a 27-0 lead over the Broncos. The Texans are depleted, with injuries to many of the only players even crazed NFL fans could name on their roster. I expect the Chiefs to be much more focused and play a more complete game. If the offense corrects the turnovers, the Chiefs should quickly leave Texas with the AFC West crown. Major and deserved questions will need to be asked if this isn't a "get right" performance in all three phases.
Chiefs 31, Texans 20
Which team wins Chiefs (10-3) at Texans (1-11-1)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
Texans in a close game
Texans in an easy win
Texans in a blowout
|24||24||Ron Kopp Jr.||9||4||0.6923||27.7|
Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
Only one of our staffers came very close to predicting the Chiefs-Broncos game correctly. Matt Stagner's call for a 35-24 Kansas City win carried only 10 points of error — and vaulted him into a tie for fourth place in the standings. Maurice Elston's 27-17 pick was the second-best prediction — but was 22 points removed from the 34-28 final.
As wrong as we were, we were thinking alike. Four contributors gave 24-13 picks. Half of the staff made predictions within 8 points of that.