WHEN THE CHIEFS PASS

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - SPORTS SUNDAY -

Quar­ter­back Alex Smith has been out­stand­ing. He has eight touch­down passes and no in­ter­cep­tions. He leads the league with a 124.2 rat­ing. When his pro­tec­tion breaks down, he’ll buy time with his mo­bil­ity be­fore throw­ing ac­cu­rately on the run. He’s not shy about run­ning for first downs. He’s smart and care­ful with the ball. This would be a good game for J.J. Watt to get his first sack. Watt, Whit­ney Mer­cilus, Jade­veon Clowney and Be­nardrick McKin­ney have to hit Smith and try to record strip sacks. There’s a lot of pres­sure on the pass de­fense to con­tain tight end Travis Kelce down the mid­dle and su­per-fast re­ceivers Tyreek Hill and Chris Con­ley on the out­side. Rookie inside line­backer Zach Cun­ning­ham will play a cru­cial role in pass cov­er­age.

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