Vandermeer's View: Midwestern monster invades

Mitch Holthus, the longtime voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, joined me on the air this week. He delivered interesting facts, like the Chiefs have won more playoff games in Houston than they have in Kansas City (ugh, Montana). And that their founder Lamar Hunt did more for the NFL than anyone living west of Wellington Mara's driveway.

We also talked about this year's version of the Chiefs, who are off to a perfect start. Kansas City was ultra-aggressive in the draft, moving up to take Patrick Mahomes from Texas Tech. This move promptly inspired incumbent quarterback Alex Smith to throw eight touchdown passes and no picks through one fourth of the season. Among Smith's goals is to keep the rookie nailed to the bench.

You might recall the Chiefs coming in here and ruining opening day for the Texans. They also ended Houston's season with a 30-0 playoff performance that garnered Andy Reid semi-Sainthood in the Midwest, as it was the first playoff victory for Kansas City since before Mahomes was born.

In those Texans losses in 2015, two of the today's most dangerous Chiefs weren't even there: Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. Hill is one of the most dangerous weapons in the league right now. In Houston's 19-12 win last year he hadn't quite taken off yet, but he's a force now and he'll be a prime area of concern for the Texans defense. Hunt leads the league in rushing.

Duplicating last year's blueprint for victory won't be easy. It's interesting that Will Fuller V, in just his second game, caught four passes for 104 yards. We'll have more of that, please. And Travis Kelce was held to five catches for 34 yards. The Texans are going through a three game mini-murderers row stretch of tight ends with Gronk, Delanie Walker and now Kelce.

The lights will be bright and Houston's offense, coming off 74 points in the last two games (90 total, but there were two defensive scores) will try to keep the good times rolling.

As the NBC trucks rolled in this week, they were gearing up for an intriguing matchup of an unbeaten against a team that's transforming on the go. Bill O'Brien has had another week to work with Deshaun Watson to implement ways to torment a defense. And that's the thinking now. Attack!

People keep asking me about how teams might defend against Watson. Historically, with a young mobile quarterback, the standard is to crowd the box and keep him contained. But you get the feeling the Texans will be ready for that. Plus, single coverage on either Fuller or the NFL's leading receiver, DeAndre Hopkins sounds wonderful.

The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)

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