The Houston Texans have won four AFC South titles in the last five seasons, but they have never advanced past the Divisional Round of the playoffs and own a 4-6 postseason record. Last year, they were eliminated by the Kansas City Chiefs after winning a Wild Card Game. They now seek to put that 51-31 loss behind them and open the new season with a win. The Texans will look to spoil the home opener for the defending Super Bowl champions on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff for Chiefs vs. Texans is set for 8:20 p.m. ET.
The Chiefs will see a new-look Texans team that is on a quest to make a deeper playoff run this year. Houston unloaded longtime signature player DeAndre Hopkins in the offseason in a deal with Arizona. In the trade, they received versatile veteran running back David Johnson, who may be set for a comeback season. Kansas City is a nine-point favorite in the latest Chiefs vs. Texans odds from William Hill after the spread opened at 10, while the over-under for total points scored is 54.5. Before locking in any Texans vs. Chiefs picks, make sure you see the NFL predictions from SportsLine’s proven projection model.
The SportsLine Projection Model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up over $7,000 for $100 players on its top-rated NFL picks since its inception five years ago. It also enters the 2020 NFL season on an incredible 96-65 roll on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season.
The model ranked in the Top 10 on NFLPickWatch in three of the past four years on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 95 percent of CBS Sports office pool players three times during that span. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now, the model has set its sights on Chiefs vs. Texans. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NFL odds from William Hill and trends for Texans vs. Chiefs:
Chiefs vs. Texans spread: Kansas City -9
Chiefs vs. Texans over-under: 54.5 points
Chiefs vs. Texans money line: Kansas City -450, Houston +350
KC: Chiefs have won nine straight since losing to Tennessee in Week 10 last season
HOU: QB Deshaun Watson has thrown 26 touchdown passes each of the last two years
Why the Chiefs can cover
Mahomes has made it extremely difficult for opposing defenses to stop him from finding the end zone. The Texas Tech product, who celebrates his 25th birthday on Sept. 17, was held without a touchdown pass in only one of his games last season, amassing 36 while throwing just seven interceptions. He twice failed to register a TD toss in 18 overall contests in 2018 but ran for a score in both outings and finished with a total of 53 touchdown passes.
Nearly half of Mahomes’ 26 regular-season TD throws in 2019 were hauled in by wide receiver Tyreek Hill (seven) and tight end Travis Kelce (five). Hill finished with fewer than 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in three years, recording 860 on 58 catches, but missed four games with a clavicle injury. Kelce nearly matched his regular-season total in the playoffs, as he made four TD catches, including three in the second quarter of the Chiefs’ win over the Texans.
Why the Texans can cover
Houston squandered a 24-point lead and allowed 41 consecutive points in the postseason loss to Kansas City. The team reacted by parting with their biggest superstar. Hopkins had five 1,100-plus yard seasons and three campaigns with 11 or more TD catches as a Texan. Houston also parted ways with 1,000-yard rusher Carlos Hyde and key nose tackle D.J. Reader.
The Texans have new weapons around quarterback Deshaun Watson. Brandin Cooks was acquired in an offseason trade with the Rams and has four 1,000-yard seasons and three with 78-plus receptions on his resume. Randall Cobb came over from Dallas after averaging a career-best 15.1 yards in 2019. Johnson totaled nearly 1,400 yards from scrimmage just two years ago.
Watson will utilize his new playmakers as he attempts to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s “Legion of Zoom” on offense. Electric downfield returnee Will Fuller will play a major role if this matchup turns into another shootout. Fuller is Watson’s favorite big-play target and has averaged over 15 yards per catch in two of the past three seasons.