GAME BREAKER

Let's discuss 1 playmaker the Texans defense can't afford to sleep on against KC

Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans return to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since bowing out to the Kansas City Chiefs 51-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs last year. The Chiefs had no issues lighting the scoreboard up led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes' electrifying 5 touchdown performance. However, the prevailing thought surrounding the Chiefs offense entering 2020 is that the defending champs might be even better on that side of the ball because of the addition of first-round draft pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU.

The 5-7, 207 pound shifty running back rushed for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns last season to go with another 55 receptions for 453 yards and one touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield helping LSU win the National Championship. Despite being a rookie, trying to contain Edwards-Helaire on defense won't be easy. One of the challenges in preparing for Edwards-Helaire is the fact that without any preseason games the only film the Texans have on Edward-Helaire is his college tape.

"We had to go back and watch college tape because of no preseason games," Texans Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver said. "He is a very talented back. He's built low to the ground, but he runs tough. He runs tough and strong and he's very good out of the backfield... He reminds me a little bit of Darren Sproles, which obviously Andy (Reid) had in Philly. So, it'll be interesting to see how they go about using him."

In the National Title game against Clemson, Edwards-Helaire rushed for 110 yards and caught five passes for 54 yards. Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien took notice.

"Obviously, he did a great job at LSU with Joe Burrow last year. I mean, they set records," O'Brien said. "Their offensive output at LSU last year was in another stratosphere.

Add Edwards-Helaire to the list of offensive weapons that the Texans are going to have to deal with if they are going to shock the NFL world and win in KC as 9.5 point underdogs.

"Look, he's a guy that can run it, he can hurt you out of the backfield," O'Brien said. "He's a part of an offensive system now in Kansas City that's a very dynamic one. We're just going to have to do as good a job as we can of knowing where he's at, how they're trying to use him early on and do as good a job as we can."

Jake Asman is a national host on SportsMap Radio. You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM - 10 AM Central.

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The NASCAR Cup Series heads for Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers 400. MIS is one of the fastest racetracks in the country, as cars are capable of reaching speeds of 201-205 miles per hour. Hopefully, we will see a safe race considering the speeds we see here. We will more than likely see a race that is vastly different from what we saw last here when the drivers utilized the draft to pass around this track. This year, the cars are less aero-dependent and will be much more spread out. The drivers will need to continue to manage their tires as they have been doing all year.

Last weekend at Indy, Tyler Reddick captured his second victory of 2022 in dramatic fashion. The race came down to numerous restarts where drivers would drive way too deep into the first corner and run into each other each time. This was the central theme of the race, as restarts pretty much decided everything. We saw drivers like AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney get swept up in wrecks in turn one. On the final restart, Ross Chastain decided he didn’t want to be a part of these shenanigans and took the access road that skipped turn one. This moved catapulted him to the lead with Tyler Reddick as the two battled for the lead in a two-lap shootout. When the dust settled, Reddick came away victorious and Ross Chastain was black flagged for shortcutting.

The finish of this race sparked a serious debate among drivers and fans alike about ditching the Indianapolis road course and returning to the oval in 2023. Personally, this doesn’t make any sense to me. While yes, turn one is difficult to maneuver, it’s mainly because drivers all decide to send it as deep as they can, not because of the racetrack configuration. It’s also a bit disingenuous as for years, drivers and fans have been saying they don’t want to see the oval and that the track is designed for IndyCar. If I had to choose, I would say NASCAR just stop going to Indy and go to the short track down the road at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. We have seen so many great races there, and I think the Cup Series would be perfect for that track. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how NASCAR responds to this and what they decide to do for next season.

Kurt Busch will be out for the third consecutive week as he continues to recover from a concussion. This has been tough to hear about, and now there are legitimate concerns that he will not return to racing. There is a good chance however that 23XII could be saving him for the playoffs which are coming up.

For now, Ty Gibbs will continue to fill in for Busch. In his two starts the young phenom has performed extremely well, finishing 16th at Pocono and 17th at Indy. It’s clear that this young man can drive these cars, the only problem is finding a place for him to run next season.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Martin Truex Jr. By any other standard, the season that Truex is having has been great. Constantly up front, leading laps and just overall contending. Unfortunately for him, 2022 hasn’t been just any average season. With 14 winners and Truex not being one of them, he is on the playoff bubble even though he is fourth in points. While his playoff future maybe uncertain right now, there are some good racetracks he is going to where can easily get that first win, and Michigan is one of them. Over the last four races here, he currently has the highest average finish, the highest percentage of laps led, but no victories. I see that changing this week. Toyota and Gibbs have been fast this season as Truex’s teammates have all punched their tickets to the playoffs. Look for Truex to be next in line.

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