Prediction: Chiefs 20, Texans 13

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In some ways, this season’s Houston Texans remind me of last year’s Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans have too much talent to be playing as poorly as they have been the past few weeks.

At some point last year, it became obvious the Chiefs had no idea how to turn their plummeting fortunes around. I have more confidence in Houston’s ability to get matters straightened out.

Whether that time comes today when the Chiefs and Texans meet at Arrowhead Stadium is another matter. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will no doubt unveil some complex looks that Houston’s new starting quarterback, Case Keenum, will find confusing.

But there are some matchups that should go in Houston’s favor as well. In particular, the Texans’ running game could be a problem for the Chiefs. Houston has an excellent run-blocking offensive line, a healthy 4.7-yard-per-carry average and skilled backs in Arian Foster and Ben Tate.

Meanwhile, when on offense, the Chiefs don’t look like they’re making any progress. The protection is still shaky, Alex Smith’s completion percentage is far too low and the Chiefs get little from anyone other than Jamaal Charles. Not the recipe for success against the league’s No. 1-ranked defense.

The Chiefs have allowed too many games against struggling opponents to go into the fourth quarter with the outcome still in doubt. Last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders is the latest example. Sooner or later, the opponents will be the ones making the fourth-quarter plays, not the Chiefs.

So there’s reason for concern on the part of the Chiefs. But they’re good enough defensively to control the game against the Texans like they’ve done against so many other opponents. Houston, even with Keenum at quarterback, may hang with the Chiefs for a while. Then the Chiefs will do what for them has become a habit.

Prediction: Chiefs 20, Texans 13