Sean Pendergast

Ravens or Chiefs — Who Would Texans Fans Rather They Face This Weekend?

The Texans could be on a collision course with Patrick Mahomes.
The Texans could be on a collision course with Patrick Mahomes. Photo by Jack Gorman

For the fifth time in their history, the Houston Texans have won a playoff game and are on their way to the divisional round. The previous four trips that far into the postseason have resulted in losses, most of them fairly resounding. Most recently, the Texans had a 24-0 first half lead in the divisional round of the 2019 postseason in Kansas City, and they found themselves trailing by halftime.

That's kind of how it's gone. At their best, the Texans have been a division champion in a bad division, and a fun little participant in the postseason, before getting fed to the playoff monsters, like some jabroni wrestler getting fed to Hulk Hogan on Saturday morning wrestling back in the day.

Hopefully, this year is different. It certainly feels different. There's something about the "football DNA" of C.J. Stroud, DeMeco Ryans, and the prominent supporting actors in the award winning 2023 drama called "Houston Texans Football."

Come Monday evening, after Buffalo and Pittsburgh play their postponed divisional round game, we will know which team stands in between the Texans and their finally winning a second round playoff game. If Buffalo wins, it's off to Baltimore to face the top seeded Ravens. If Pittsburgh pulls off a monumental upset of the Bills, the Texans will head to Kansas City.

So who do Texans fans WANT to see in the next round? I put that very important question to the audience on X (formerly known as Twitter) to see what they're feeling:
Not a huge surprise, Texans fans would rather face the empirically weaker (and less rested) of the two potential opponents. Let's take a quick look at the case for and case against each of these two teams:

BALTIMORE RAVENS (13-4), No. 1 seed in the AFC

The case for wanting to play them:
The Texans lost to the Ravens in Week 1 this season, and when the Texans have had a chance to avenge losses earlier in the season, they're 2-0 this year (Colts, Browns). Also, by the time the Ravens take the field this weekend, it will have been three weeks since Lamar Jackson took a snap, since they've been resting him since clinching the overall top seed in the AFC. Finally, Lamar Jackson is 1-3 in the playoffs for his career. Despite being on the cusp of his second regular season MVP award, in the postseason, he's not exactly Tom Brady.

The case for wanting to avoid them:
Quite simply, they're a really good football team, and they've gotten better as the season has progressed. Baltimore is about as good a home field advantage as there is in the AFC. Also, while Jackson has not played well in the postseason, this 2023 version of Jackson is a more balanced quarterback than the more run heavy ones from previous seasons. OC Todd Monken has done a nice job.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-6), number 3 seed in the AFC

The case for wanting to play them:
This is the worst version of the Chiefs offense that we've since since Patrick Mahomes took over as the full time starter in 2018. Travis Kelce is still effective, but age is beginning to show. Outside of Kelce, their next most dangerous weapon is rookie WR Rashee Rice, kind of a far cry from the days of Tyreek Hill. Despite vast improvements on defense, this feels like most beatable version of the Chiefs in the Mahomes Era. Also, revenge for the 2019 divisional round game is probably a motivator for Texans fans.

The case for wanting to avoid them:
If there is a tougher road venue than Baltimore in the AFC, it's probably Kansas City. Also, while Jackson is just 1-3 in the postseason, Mahomes and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid are the NFL version of the Astros, having made the AFC title game each fo the last five seasons. Their experience cannot be discounted.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast