Know Your Foe: Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs' last two playoff wins have spanned the past 23 years. Unfortunately, both of those have come over Houston teams. Prior to the 2015 season, the last playoff win for the Chiefs came in the Astrodome over the Houston Oilers in 1993 with Joe Montana and Marcus Allen leading the way in an AFC divisional playoff win.

The next playoff win for the Chiefs came last season in this building over the Houston Texans. It was the second win of the year for the Chiefs over the Texans at NRG, as the Chiefs beat the Texans in the season opener. Suffice it to say, the Chiefs had the Texans' number in 2015.

As luck would have it, the Chiefs travel to Houston for a third time in just over a year in Week 2 of the 2016 season. As such, my 'Know Your Foe' series continues with a team that the Texans have recently gotten to know well.

OFFENSE
2015 Unit Profile
Rush Offense - 127.8 ypg (6th in the NFL)
Pass Offense - 203.4 ypg (30th)
Total Offense - 331.2 ypg (27th)
Scoring Offense - 25.3 ppg (9th)

Here's what the Chiefs offense looked like in their playoff win over the Texans.

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WR- Jeremy Maclin *LT -Eric Fisher
LG - Jff Allen
*C
* - Zac Fulton
G - Lauret Duvernay-Tardif
RT* - Donald tephenson
*TE
- Travis Kece
WR -Albert Wilsn
QB - Aex Smith
RB - Chacandrick Wet
WR - JasonAvant
FB
- Anthony Sherman in 21 personnel

Here's what the Chiefs offense could look like in 2016.

WR - Jeremy Maclin
LT - Eric Fisher
LG - PARKER EHINGER/Veteran signed later in camp
C - MITCH MORSE
RG - Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
RT - MITCHELL SCHWARTZ
TE - Travis Kelce
WR - Albert Wilson
RB - JAMAAL CHARLES
WR - CHRIS CONLEY/FRANKIE HAMMOND/ROD STREATER
FB** - Anthony Sherman in 21 personnel

**ALL CAPS INDICATE POTENTIALLY DIFFERENT STARTER

Most significant improvement on the offense - Getting Jamaal Charles back healthy. Period. End of story. The Chiefs were sixth in the league in yards per game on the ground. So, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware did the job in Charles' stead, but No. 25 changes things in both the run and pass game.

Most impactful players that the Texans didn't face in 2015? - The only player they didn't face at all was Schwartz at right tackle. He's an improvement over Jah Reid or Donald Stephenson, but he'll get tested right out of the chute against Watt, Clowney and Mercilus.

What will worry Texans fans the most? - Even with Charles back in the fold, the Texans never found a solution to the Travis Kelce mystery. Of all of the speed and explosiveness on that side of the ball, Kelce is the one worry I have and he's the one I heard about from most fans heading into both games last year.

What will worry Chiefs fans the most? - If the second-leading receiver on the team is Jamaal Charles. They must get something out of the second receiver on this team, be it Albert Wilson, Chris Conley or one of the others on the roster. Kelce and Charles will get targeted and targeted often, but the emergence of a true second receiving threat can transform this offense. If it doesn't happen, then this offense is at its ceiling currently. Keep an eye on rookies Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson. Both had troubled stays in college but have outrageous skill level. They'll find a way to impact this offense, somehow, in 2016.

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DEFENSE **2015 Unit Profile Rush Defense - 98.2 ypg (8th in the NFL)
Pass Defense - 231.1 ypg (9th)
Total Defense - 329.3 ypg (7th)
Scoring Defense - 17.9 ppg (3rd)

Here's what the Chiefs defense looked like in their playoff game with the Texans.

DE - Jaye Howard
NT - Dontari Poe
DE - Allen Bailey
LOLB - Justin Houston
LILB - Derrick Johnson
RILB - Josh Mauga
ROLB - Tamba Hali
CB - Marcus Peters
CB - Sean Smith
SS - Ron Parker
FS - Eric Berry

Here's what the Chiefs could look like on defense in 2016.

DE - Jaye Howard/CHRIS JONES
NT - Dontari Poe
DE - Allen Bailey
LOLB - Justin Houston
LILB - Derrick Johnson
RILB - Josh Mauga
ROLB - Tamba Hali
CB - Marcus Peters
CB - PHILLIP GAINES/STEVEN NELSON
SS - Ron Parker/JAMELL FLEMING
FS - Eric Berry

**ALL CAPS INDICATE POTENTIALLY DIFFERENT STARTER

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Most significant improvement on the defense** - This is roughly the same exact defense as in 2015, with the noted exception at CB where Sean Smith took off for Oakland. Gaines started at CB in the first matchup with the Texans and Nelson improved throughout his 2015 rookie campaign.

Most impactful players that the Texans didn't see in 2015? - The Chiefs drafted former Mississippi State DE Chris Jones in the second round to bolster an already outstanding group of interior defensive linemen. He'll definitely get in the linemen rotation, but how much he's able to see of the field in Week 2 is a bit of a mystery at this point.

What will worry Texans fans the most? - This entire defensive crew. It's a nasty, physical and fast unit that can turn an offense over in a hurry. Now, it may be without Justin Houston to start the season, but that puts former first rounder Dee Ford on the field opposite Tamba Hali. There's a drop-off, but it's not THAT significant at edge-rushing OLB. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has done a tremendous job with the talent that GM John Dorsey et al. have provided for him in KC.

What will worry Chiefs fans the most? - The cornerback spot opposite Peters is probably the most significant concern. The bigger concerns will come in the 2016 offseason, as Eric Berry will be an unrestricted free agent and NT Dontari Poe is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. But, as far as Week 2 against the Texans goes, the only true worry is whether the Texans can exploit that other cornerback with its varied receiving options.

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