Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Houston Texans (1-0)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, NRG Stadium, Houston. -- TV: CBS, Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots.
SERIES HISTORY: 8th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead series, 4-3, including last season's 27-20 victory in the regular-season opener. Kansas City is 3-2 against the Texans in Houston. The Chiefs beat the Texans 30-0 in last season's wildcard game in the AFC playoffs.
KEYS TO THE GAME: With Kansas City coming off the remarkable comeback victory over San Diego, it will be vital for the Chiefs to put that euphoria in their rearview mirror as they face a much tougher AFC opponent in the Texans. When these teams last played in the 2015 playoffs in January, Kansas City posted a dominating 30-0 victory in which major contributions came from all three phases of the game, with a kickoff return for a touchdown, two offensive touchdowns and five takeaways from the defense.
Houston has a different team from that meeting nine months ago, with Brock Osweiler at quarterback instead of Brian Hoyer and a healthy J.J. Watt coming off the edge of the defense; he was injured and eventually left the postseason game with a groin injury that required surgery. The Chiefs must play four quarters in the fashion they played the fourth quarter last Sunday if they want to go 2-0.
The Texans need to get pressure on quarterback Alex Smith to disrupt the timing of the Chiefs' West Coast offense. Offensively, the Texans need to spread the football around to keep the Chiefs off-balance.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Chiefs RT Mitchell Schwartz vs. Texans SLB Whitney Mercilus. In the offseason, Schwartz was the big addition in free agency for the Chiefs. His performance in his first four NFL seasons in Cleveland showed the skills that Kansas City so desperately needed to solidify the weakest position in their offense. Schwartz is smart, tough and adept at blocking for both run and pass. He will have his hands full with Mercilus, who had two of the Texans' five sacks of Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler last Sunday. The Chiefs know all about Mercilus -- he had three sacks in the postseason game between the teams.
--Chiefs CBs Marcus Peters, Phillip Gaines and Steven Nelson vs. Texans WRs DeAndre Hopkins and William Fuller IV. At the start of last Sunday's game against San Diego, the Kansas City corners had a tough time in coverage, especially when trying to cover Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen. Peters was burned repeatedly by Allen, with Gaines and Nelson also struggling. Allen went out with a torn ACL in his right knee in the second quarter and the Kansas City defense improved with a stronger pass rush. Hopkins and Fuller, his rookie teammate, provide Houston with two gifted receivers. In his first NFL game, Fuller grabbed five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DE J.J. Watt is coming off one of his least productive games, but it was just his first game back from back surgery. Watt had one tackle and three quarterback hits against the Chicago Bears and is shedding rust quickly.
INJURY REPORT: Kansas City -- Out: LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle), G Parker Ehinger (concussion). Questionable: RB Jamaal Charles (knee). Houston -- Out: T Duane Brown (knee), LB Brian Cushing (knee). Questionable: G Jeff Allen (calf), DE Christian Covington (groin), T Derek Newton (knee).
FAST FACTS: The Chiefs scored 21 points in the final 21 minutes to tie the San Diego Chargers last Sunday in the season opener. They completed the biggest comeback in franchise history with a 33-27 overtime victory. ... Kansas City RB Spencer Ware has seven rushing TDs in his past 10 games. He scored a TD among his 129 rushing yards last week and also had a career-high seven catches. ... Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 98 yards and 2 TDs in last year's Week 1 meeting. He also scored last week.
PREDICTION: With Osweiler, Miller and Fuller, the Houston offense is much better than it was last time these teams met. And Watt is only going to get better.
OUR PICK: Texans, 23-20.