Chiefs-Texans scouting report

When the Chiefs run EDGE >> CHIEFS

Running back Jamaal Charles hasn’t broken a big run yet, but he has run hard and managed to get the tough yards, even when defenses know the Chiefs are running. The Texans struggled against the run in a 38-13 loss to the Rams last week, and currently rank 25th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game at 121.5. It would make sense if the Chiefs tried to establish the run away from Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, the NFL’s reigning defensive player of the year.

Chiefs’ top rusher No. Yds. Avg. TD
Jamaal Charles1144754.25
When the Chiefs pass

The Chiefs could have a difficult time moving the ball through the air against the Texans, who are allowing a league-low 131.3 passing yards per game. Problem is, they aren’t forcing turnovers — they only have three all year, which ranks near the bottom of the league, and are minus-12 in turnover ratio. Against a Chiefs offense that has been averse to turnovers, the Texans struggles could continue, though Watt and fellow defensive end Antonio Smith have a good chance of being disruptive against a somewhat banged-up Chiefs offensive line.

Chiefs’ top QB C A Yds. TD-I
Alex Smith122 2161,3307-3
Chiefs’ top WR No. Yds. Avg. TD
Donnie Avery1831017.21
When the Texans run EDGE >> TEXANS

The Chiefs are pretty solid against the run, but the running game is the Texans’ bread-and-butter. Houston runs for nearly 137 yards per game, the sixth-best mark in the league, and there’s little doubt the Texans will lean heavily on the running game to keep this game under control. Center Chris Myers is playing well, which gives the Texans a chance to run up the middle against burgeoning star nose guard Dontari Poe. Then there’s running back Arian Foster, one of the league’s top backs.

Texans’ top rusher No. Yds. Avg. TD
Arian Foster1175314.51
When the Texans pass EDGE >> CHIEFS

Let’s see: a rookie taking on the No. 1 pass rush in the NFL at Arrowhead Stadium? Huge advantage goes to the Chiefs. Case Keenum, a third-stringer entering this week, leapfrogged a banged-up and struggling Matt Schaub and beleaguered backup T.J. Yates for the starting job, but he faces a huge test against a defense that leads the NFL in sacks with 30 and is tied for second in interceptions for 10. Good luck, there.

Texans’ top QB C A Yds. TD-I
Case Keenum0000-0
Texans’ top WR No. Yds. Avg. TD
Andre Johnson4449511.30
Special teams EDGE >> CHIEFS

This one is close. Texans punter Shane Lechler is one of the best in the league, but so is Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt. The difference here lies with the kickers, where the Chiefs’ Ryan Succop has drilled nearly twice as many touchbacks and converted a higher percentage of his field goals (84.6) than Bullock has (64.3). The Chiefs also have a punt-return touchdown to their credit, while the Texans do not.

Coaching EDGE >> CHIEFS

While Andy Reid can do no wrong in Kansas City, Houston coach Gary Kubiak’s decision to throw quarterback Case Keenum into the fire could also be construed as a move to buy himself more time on the job. Throw that into the mix, as well as defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s wizardry this season, and the Chiefs would appear to have the advantage here.

X-factor EDGE >> CHIEFS

Chalk this one up to the power of Arrowhead Stadium. The venue that once powered the great Chiefs teams of the 1990s has its mojo back, as the fans proved last week when they broke the Guinness record for loudest crowd at an outdoor sporting event. The fans made it difficult for the Raiders to make their offensive calls, and the Texans should have similar problems.

Bottom line: Chiefs 23-10

Watt is ticked off because of his team’s 2-4 start, and it’s easy to see him having a big day against an offensive line that has battled injuries, overall, and inexperience at the right tackle position. But at the end of the day, it’s hard to imagine a young quarterback winning his debut at a rejuvenated Arrowhead Stadium.

Terez A. Paylor, tpaylor@kcstar.com