Network Notebook: Chiefs/Titans Could be Playoff Preview
KANSAS CITY IS STILL UNDEFEATED, AND HOUSTON IS NOW A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
This Sunday night's NFL matchup featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans is suddenly HUGE. Before the season began...fans and handicappers knew that Kansas City would be a playoff contender, but probably not a championship contender. (The Chiefs were +8 at New England!). Houston might have had a chance to battle for a Wildcard...but was more likely to suffer through growing pains while aiming for something near .500. (The Texans were 6-point underdogs to unimpressive Cincinnati back in Week 2, and were home dogs to Tennessee last Sunday).
One month into the 2017 campaign, Kansas City just might be THE BEST TEAM IN THE NFL. An undefeated 4-0 record has come against a challenging schedule.
*KC won on the road over Super Bowl champ New England
*KC defeated budding NFC power Philadelphia
*KC defeated resurgent Washington
One soft touch against the Chargers. But...many respected computer ratings have Philadelphia near the top of the NFC. Kansas City is getting the job done and it ain't with smoke and mirrors. They're outplaying good teams thanks to proven, veteran talent.
For its part, Houston is now very much in the playoff conversation. And, their stats with Deshaun Watson running the offense the past two weeks are staggering when you consider the context. They were facing two teams priced by the betting markets to win their divisions.
*At New England, Houston lost a heartbreaker 36-33, gaining more than 400 yards on 6.2 yards per play. Watson, supposedly a green rookie who would be in over his head, passed for almost 300 yards and performed well in the clutch. He already looked like a star in his second start.
*Versus Tennessee, Houston OBLITERATED the AFC South favorite 57-14, with Watson passing for 272 yards, running for a TD, and leading sharp drives all day. This wasn't Cleveland or the NY Jets. This was Tennessee, who had just bullied Seattle the prior week. Watson already looked like a superstar!
Granting that it's cherry-picking...but if you ONLY focus on those two results...Houston is knocking on the door of a possible conference championship. You have to assume some off-weeks are on the way. Opponents will adjust to Watson as they see more game film. No team avoids injuries, etc...etc. JIM HURLEY isn't saying NOW that Houston is already a champion. NETWORK's statheads are pointing out that the Titans are posting the statistics of champions in context...which is an important red alert for coming developments.
That's why Kansas City/Houston is so important. It's going to feel like a playoff game because Houston is feeling its oats and Kansas City has been playing so well. Given New England's inconsistency, and Pittsburgh's too common sluggishness, who's to say that we won't be watching the two best teams in the AFC?
We won't post a selection here in the NOTEBOOK. That's not fair to JIM HURLEY'S paying clients. We do believe there's a chance for a blowout cover in either direction. Let's quickly run through those scenarios.
*Houston could easily pull away and coast to victory if Kansas City is drained from that Monday Night win over Washington, or otherwise prone to let down off the 4-0 start. It's fairly common for teams who start undefeated like that to take a week off when they start to feel too comfortable. Do that against Deshaun Watson's offense, and it could be 30-14 by halftime (last week's score at the break vs. the Titans)!
*Kansas City has a tricky defense that will present some challenges Watson hasn't dealt with yet. This could very easily be the wake-up call that pops the Houston balloon for a few weeks. It's one thing to catch people by surprise (particularly with a multi-dimensional quarterback who can scramble out of trouble). It's much different once opponents have seen what you can do, and are already stellar at disguising their blitzes. Watson has been interception prone. A bad turnover game from Houston, and this is a blowout for the Chiefs.
A big weekend is on the way...and you should start winning NOW! You can purchase all of our college and pro football BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 to take care of business. Don't forget to ask about combination packages with Major League Baseball. The playoffs are already in full swing...and this is going to be the busiest baseball stretch of October with four different series running simultaneously.
Back with you Monday to preview a big college football game for Week 7. We are looking at Oklahoma/Texas, Georgia Tech/Miami, Michigan/Indiana, and Utah/USC as possibilities for discussion.
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