After a long and uncertain offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs are set to open their season against the Houston Texans on Thursday night.
“I know that team is going to be fired up and excited about coming in here on a Thursday night, prepared to come in and put it on us,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said.
Last time the two teams faced each other was in January in the AFC Divisional playoffs. The Chiefs came back from a 24-0 deficit to beat the Texans, 51-31.
This year, the Chiefs will be going up against a new-look Texans offense after Houston traded star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the Chiefs have an idea of what they might be going up against in the pass game.
“It sounds and feels like they’re going to spread the ball around, which means we’re going to have to deal with a bunch of them,” Spagnuolo said. “They’ve got some speed over there. We know what (receiver Will Fuller) is like, (receiver Brandin Cooks) they added to the mix.”
“With or without (Hopkins), I think they have the ability to wreck a football game,” former Texans and current Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “They brought in (receiver Randall Cobb), who’s a veteran, who I’m sure is going to possess some of the same traits DeAndre possessed.”
The Texans defensive line possesses one of the best defensive linemen in the game with perennial All-Pro J.J. Watt. Bieniemy said he’s excited to see Watt go up against right tackle Mitchell Schwartz for the Chiefs.
“(Schwartz) brings his hard hat and his lunch pail to work every single day, and he’s going to go about his business,” Bieniemy said. “Sometimes he might get J.J. and sometimes J.J. might get him, but that’s not going to stop him from being the very best of who he can be.”
With an air of uncertainty surrounding what fans will see on the field Thursday night, the Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid are optimistic.
“I’ll be curious, like you are to see how it all rolls,” Reid said. “I think we can put a pretty good show on between the two teams because of the veteran players that both teams have and coaches, but we’ll see. We’ll see how it all works out.”
The Chiefs and Texans are set to kick off Thursday night at 7:20 p.m.