The NFL is BACK, baby! This year, The Turf will preview some of the key match-ups, including every Thursday night match-up. Predictions, key storylines to watch, and fantasy stars in the making are on the table as we breakdown the game that will lead us into the weekend.
Let’s take a look at the Week 1 showdown between Kansas City and Houston.
The Champs Return
As is typically the case, the NFL’s season kick-off will feature the reigning champs in a marquis match-up of conference titans. Andy Reid brings Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs (and their new bling) to Houston to square off against the Texans.
The AFC West favorites return to the field with a team almost identical to the one that hoisted the Lombardi back in February. On the other side of the field, Houston made some MAJOR changes to their offense by shipping out elite WR DeAndre Hopkins in a trade for once-dominant RB David Johnson. Make no mistake – this was a MAJOR gamble by Houston’s front office. They may be playing with O’Brien’s job after an embarrassing defeat despite going up 24-0 on the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. Pundits say O’Brien is in the hot seat and they may be right.
When healthy, Houston’s defense is elite and Watson, along with his brand new contract, should continue to put up points, particularly on a weak Chiefs secondary. But it’s hard to bet against the Chiefs. Expect some fireworks on the field as the NFL season kicks off but I have the Chiefs eking out a close one, 45-38.
Storyline to Watch – Houston’s Offense
While Houston’s QB is top-5 in the game, there are question marks everywhere else.
- RB – New addition David Johnson comes in with questions about his health. How much does he have left in the tank at 28 and numerous injuries over the past two years?
- WR – Houston added NFL journeyman Brandin Cooks to an injury-maligned group of pass catchers. Wil Fuller can’t stay on the field and Randall Cobb is WELL past his prime. Keke Coutee has potential but if Cooks/Watson don’t click, it could be a tough year for Houston.
- TE – Darren Fells posted a career high in receptions last year. The total? 34. Don’t expect defenses to key in on this position.
Houston invested heavily in the offensive line in 2019, as they were able to keep Watson on his feet and his jersey clean. If they can continue to give him time in the pocket, he should develop rapport with his new weapons pretty quickly IF they can stay on the field. And that’s a big if.
Fantasy Player to Watch – Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Edwards-Helaire was explosive at LSU and KC is hoping that translates quickly to the NFL. Andy Reid has a history of getting the most out of his RBs, particularly in the passing game, leading to CEH rocketing up fantasy draft boards. With 3 RBs that did nothing to impress in 2019, the 32nd overall pick seems to have a strangle-hold on the starting job. With a passing game that will continue to lead the NFL, CEH should see things open up for him underneath. He’s not a big guy, standing only at 5’8″, so he may have some tough sledding around the goalline. But if Reid continues to work his magic, CEH will be a fantasy star in no time.
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