Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Chiefs, Texans Renew Acquaintances after Taking Similar Paths to Postseason

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Chiefs, Texans Renew Acquaintances after Taking Similar Paths to Postseason

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A team gets off to a slow start, goes into a midseason bye week with momentum, then finishes strong in the second half to make the playoffs.

Sounds like a theme for the Chiefs, of course, but that scenario also applies to the Chiefs' opponent Saturday in the opening round of the playoffs at NRG Stadium -- the Houston Texans.

"They started off rough, we started off rough," Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson said. "Here we are again."

The parallels are eerie.

Houston was 2-5 before getting a much-needed win in Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans to head into its Week 9 bye at 3-5.

The Texans then went 6-2 after the bye and overtook the Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC South at 9-7 and clinch the fourth seed in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs defeated the Texans 27-20 at NRG Stadium in Week 1 before losing five straight games and were 1-5 after Week 6.

Kansas City gained steam with a two-game winning streak to enter a Week 9 bye at 3-5, then closed the season with eight straight wins to finish at 11-5 and secure the fifth seed in the playoffs.

"It's a beautiful thing, really," Stephenson said. "Two teams crawling out of the hole, fighting our way back. Everybody basically turned their backs on us, told us we weren't good enough to make the playoffs. It's going to be a pretty nice matchup."

Chiefs long snapper James Winchester agreed.

"There are similarities in the teams," Winchester said. "Both teams are in the playoffs, started off slow, but props to them as well. It was pretty fun to meet them the first game and first in the playoffs. It's kind of like deja vu going back to Houston."

Another common factor between the two teams surrounded the timing of the bye week.

"I think winning going into your bye is really important, especially when your bye comes in the middle of the season like it did for us," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said in a conference call. …

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