Only one team in National Football League history has won a Super Bowl while being outscored in the regular season. That was the 2011 New York Giants, they beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
The Houston Texans are looking to move a step closer to matching that feat when they meet the Kansas City Chiefs today at Arrowhead Stadium. Eight years ago, the Giants were outscored in the regular season by six points, allowing 400 while scoring only 394. This season, the Houston Texans gave up seven more points than they scored in the regular season, 378 tallied and 385 surrendered.
What is most interesting about the Texans negative points for and against ratio is that they parlayed those stats into a 10-6 regular season, and an opening postseason overtime victory last Saturday against the Buffalo Bills, 22-19.
If the Texans can be outscored and still post ten victories and win the AFC South Division, they must be real good at winning close games.
Or, and this is a fact, they are susceptible occasionally to being blown out. They lost to the Baltimore Ravens by 34 points and suffered a two-touchdown home defeat to the Denver Broncos, 38-24.
Today, they meet a Chiefs squad perfectly poised to tag one of those lopsided losses on the Texans record. The Chiefs are at home, healthy, and with a coach that spins gold when he has two weeks to prepare. No one in NFL history has a better record coming off a bye week than Kansas City Head Coach Andy Reid.
There has been a lot of coverage this year on quarterbacks making their first career playoff start. Stats show that they do particularly bad in this role, but of the four that have made their NFL postseason debut this season, two have won and two have lost.
Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles both lost their first playoff starts, although Wentz’s result was more attributable to backup Josh McCown, who replaced Wentz after the Eagles starter was knocked out of the action by a first quarter injury.
Quarterbacks who won their initial postseason start were Ryan Tannehill, who led his Tennessee Titans to a Wild Card win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxboro, and Jimmy Garoppolo, who guided the top seed San Francisco 49ers to a victory yesterday at Levi’s Stadium over the Minnesota Vikings.
Last year, Patrick Mahomes made his first NFL start in the playoffs, and led the Chiefs to a 31-13 triumph over Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts. The contest was the last game played by Luck before injuries prompted his retirement last August.
The point is, Mahomes is one of those unique talents capable of putting on a show for the ages with an offense that attacks from a variety of sets and patterns. When a ballet is perfect, it is a result of hours and hours of painstaking work to achieve excellence. Mahomes often looks like he is leading the Chiefs offense with the same precision and beauty as the most honored ballet.
Lots of bright handicappers are siding with Houston today because they respect how many close games they have played. I’m on the Chiefs side with an expectation that this campaign of winning games while being outscored is going to come crashing down today.
If Kansas CIty doesn’t win by double-digits today two things will be true; I will be surprised and this is a losing bet.
I don’t like surprises.
Qoxhi Picks: Kansas City Chiefs (-9½) over Houston Texans