The NFL will officially kick off the 2020 season starting on September 10 when the Houston Texans face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. This season will finally begin following a unique offseason overshadowed by uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time these teams squared off was in the 2020 AFC Divisional Round, where the Chiefs overcame a 21-0 deficit to rout the Texans 51-31. The Chiefs then went on to play in Super Bowl LIV, where they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. This was the first Super Bowl win for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
With the continued daily testing of players, all it takes is a single positive test to impact a team’s entire season. The NFL preseason was canceled, meaning that on September 10 is the first time fans will get to see any football action in months. Roster moves, depth charts and team chemistry had to be formed based on scrimmages and practices instead, making it hard to know what to expect heading into the new season.
Several players have already opted out of the season for the Chiefs due to COVID-19 concerns. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a starting right guard last season, opted out in order to work at a medical facility in Canada. Starting running back Damien Williams also opted out, giving rookie first-round draft pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire a prime chance to prove himself in the Kansas City backfield.
In terms of home crowds, each NFL team has set guidelines for the maximum number of fans they will let in for their first few home games. Arrowhead Stadium has been reduced to 22 percent capacity for the September 10 kickoff game against the Texans. These attendance rules will hurt the Chiefs’ vaunted home-field advantage, but every NFL team will have to deal with the same issue this season. Masks for attendees will be required, tailgating will be limited and the crowd will be spread out in separate pods in order to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
Houston at Kansas City
Kickoff: Thursday, September 10 at 8:20 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Spread: Chiefs -9
The Texans managed to come into Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs on the road last October. However, that was a different Texans team than the one that will face off against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs on September 10.
In the offseason, the Chiefs managed to return a majority of their elite Super Bowl-winning roster. On the other hand, the Texans seemed to get worse. Houston’s offense took a big blow when they traded superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, leaving quarterback DeShaun Watson with few high end weapons to work with. The Texans’ downgraded offense will not be able to keep up with the Chiefs’ lethal aerial attack led by the three-headed monster of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
Houston’s mediocre defense will have to play lights out in order for their team to pull off this unlikely upset. The defending champion Chiefs should cruise to victory in this matchup.
Kansas City 34, Houston 20