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In 13 regular-season games against winning opponents since the start of 2018, the Chiefs have zero wins by more than 10 points. Meanwhile, Watson has just two losses by more than eight points in his NFL career.
So it’s easy to understand why the majority of our experts are unwilling to lay 10 points with Kansas City.
“Of all my picks against the spread in the divisional round, this is the one I have the most confidence in—thus guaranteeing that the Chiefs will win by 40,” Davenport said. “Don’t get me wrong, I like the Chiefs to win—at least as much as any rational person can given the team’s long and storied history of spitting the bit in the playoffs. But the Texans have J.J. Watt back. Houston might have Will Fuller V back too. The Texans have already shown they can beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead this year. And Houston is 6-2 ATS on the road this season. The spread’s too big for my tastes.”
But a lot has changed since the Texans beat the Chiefs by a touchdown at Arrowhead in Week 6. Mahomes appeared to be severely hampered at the time by an ankle injury, the offensive line was banged up, veteran receiver Sammy Watkins was inactive and Kansas City was without top defensive player Chris Jones.
Sobleski further touched on those differences in his explanation for why he took the Chiefs to win.
“Yes, the Chiefs lost when these two met during the regular season,” he said. “But a big difference exists between now and then: Kansas City’s defense found its way. The two teams previously played on Oct. 13. Since the Chiefs’ Week 12 bye, Kansas City allowed 10 points per game and 276.4 yards per game while securing 13 sacks.”
But the Chiefs defense didn’t face any intimidating offenses during that stretch, and this could be a different ballgame in the playoffs. If Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are rolling, and if Fuller is back, the Texans should score enough points for this to be decided by a single-digit margin.
No unanimous consensus here, though, because Gagnon—who ran away with the picks standings in the regular season—figures Kansas City is as due for an impressive win over a good team as Houston is for a dud.
“That 13-game sample in which Kansas City has no wins by more than 10 points against winning teams? That excludes last year’s playoff blowout over the Indianapolis Colts,” he said. “And that stat about Watson having just two blowout losses in his career? Those both came in the second half of this season against Baltimore and the Denver Broncos. Plus, he lost to Indy by a 14-point margin in last year’s playoffs. Throw in that Andy Reid is a killer with two weeks to prepare, and I’ve gotta lay the 10 points.”
He’s outnumbered, but it’s worth noting that those picking against the majority as lone wolves are 80-65-3 this season.
Davenport: Chiefs 35, Texans 27
Gagnon: Chiefs 31, Texans 20
Sobleski: Chiefs 27, Texans 21
Consensus: Texans (+10)
Score Prediction: Chiefs 31, Texans 24