Each week, the PFF analysis team will bring you break downs of the most important matchups for each game of the NFL season.
Coverage by: Mike Guerrelli
Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs offense vs. Houston Texans defense
- HB Kareem Hunt vs. LB Zach Cunningham – Hunt has been dominant as a rookie leading all running backs with a 93.4 overall PFF grade, the second highest grade of any NFL player this year. He’s a threat in the passing game with 2.31 yards per route run, fifth highest of any running back with 40-plus snaps in route this season. Hunt has caught all 13 of his targets without a dropped pass. Cunningham is also a rookie and has been solid, ranking 23rd of 83 qualifying linebackers with a 77.3 overall grade. He has five run stops in 50 snaps against the run, and is 25th at linebacker in run-stop percentage.
- G Jordan Devey vs. DI J.J. Watt – Chiefs starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif suffered a knee injury last week, pressing Devey into action this week against one of the NFL’s best defenders. Duvernay-Tardif had allowed only one pressure in 102 pass-block snaps this season, while Devey surrendered two sacks and four total pressures in 43 pass-block snaps in Week 4. Watt is currently PFF’s fourth ranked interior defender with an overall 91.0 grade. He has yet to record a sack this season but has 15 total pressures in 112 pass-rush snaps. Watt also has five run stops in 84 snaps against the run.
- TE Travis Kelce vs. S Corey Moore – Kelce has been the Chiefs most reliable target this season with 21 receptions on 21 catchable targets, the most of any tight end in 2017 without a dropped pass. His 84.2 overall PFF grade ranks fourth among all tight ends, and he has the highest receiving grade of any tight end at 85.6. Moore is ranked 23rd of 82 qualifying safeties with a 79.5 grade through Week 4. He has allowed four catches for 45 yards and two touchdowns in 85 coverage snaps this season. Moore is 49th among safeties with 0.53 yards per cover snap.
Coverage by: Aaron Resnick
Matchup: Houston Texans offense vs. Kansas City Chiefs defense
- T Breno Giacomini vs. Edge Justin Houston – In terms of keeping the pocket clean for Deshaun Watson , there is no matchup more important. Through four games, Giacomini has played 155 pass-blocking snaps and allowed 24 total quarterback pressures leading to a pass-blocking efficiency of 87.9, last among all tackles. Through four weeks, Houston’s pass-rushing grade of 80.3 ranks 24th among edge defenders. While his still above average pass-rushing productivity of 10.2 is closer to his injury filled 2016’s mark, Houston has already racked up 15 total pressures. If GIacomini and the Texan line is unable to contain Houston, who also excels against the run, it might be a long night.
- WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. CB Marcus Peters – With Hopkins being the clear focal point of the Texan passing game, he and Peters are sure to see a lot of each other on Sunday night. Since Watson took over as the starter, Hopkins’ passer rating when targeted of 79.9 currently ranks 61st among wideouts. In that same span, Hopkins is fifth among all wideouts with 2.42 yards per route run. In large part due to his performance this past Monday night, opponents have a passer rating of 102.5 when targeting Peters in coverage. Even after the tough week, Peters is still allowing less than a yard per coverage snap and his 12.6 coverage snaps per reception allowed puts him in the top third of corners.
- WR Will Fuller vs. CB Terrance Mitchell – Fuller made his 2017 debut this past Sunday after returning from a broken collarbone and he announced his return in a big way, scoring twice. He didn’t get to show his full potential as a deep threat, which was one of his calling cards coming out of Notre Dame. While opponents have a passer rating of just 58.4 against Mitchell, they’ve been able to beat him on occasion vertically. Mitchell’s 320 yards allowed in coverage are the most through four weeks among qualifying corners, and his 1.95 yards allowed per coverage snap ranks 100th among 113 eligible corners. Considering deep threats Brandin Cooks and Travis Benjamin have already hauled in big plays with Mitchell in coverage this year, don’t be stunned if the Texans decide to take a few shots in Fuller’s direction.