Believe it or not, the NFL returns on Thursday when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. It will be a rematch of a playoff game that featured the eventual Super Bowl champion's most explosive offensive performance.
Playoffs aside, Kansas City and Houston have played 12 times since the Texans first fielded a team in 2002. Here are the five greatest matchups in that series.
5. Kansas City Chiefs 17, Houston Texans 16
Oct. 20, 2013 — Kansas City, Mo.
In the game with the closest margin of victory in the series, the Texans stopped the Chiefs on their one-yard line about a minute into the fourth quarter, preventing Kansas City from extending its 17-16 lead. It didn't matter. Neither team could move the ball more than 30 yards for the rest of the period, and the Chiefs' lead held.
4. Houston Texans 24, Kansas City Chiefs 21
Sept. 26, 2004 — Kansas City, Mo.
The Texans only managed one offensive touchdown and the rest of their scores came from Marcus Coleman picking off Chiefs quarterback Trent Green and returning it 102 yards for a touchdown and three Kris Brown field goals. The last came with seven seconds left and secured the win.
3. Houston Texans 31, Kansas City Chiefs 24
Oct. 13, 2019 — Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City had been upset by the Indianapolis Colts the week before but seemed to have bounced back as Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and the Chiefs took a 17-3 first-quarter lead over the Texans. Then Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson led the team on a 20-0 run, and the Texans were up 23-17 at halftime. Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a six-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead at 24-23 in the third quarter, but Watson led Houston on a 12-play, 93-yard fourth-quarter drive that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by him for the final lead and the win.
2. Houston Texans 35, Kansas City Chiefs 31
Oct. 17, 2010 — Houston
The Chiefs led 24-14 going into the fourth quarter, but the Texans saved their best for the final period. First, Houston's Arian Foster and Kansas City's Thomas Jones traded touchdown runs. Then in the final four minutes, Foster scored another touchdown and the Texans defense forced the Chiefs to punt. Houston then drove 80 yards in nine plays, and Matt Schaub hit Andre Johnson with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds to go for a 35-31 win.
1. Kansas City Chiefs 51, Houston Texans 31 (AFC Playoffs Divisional Round)
Jan. 12, 2020 — Kansas City, Mo.
So, the question here is whether a game should be considered the greatest because of an amazing first half. I think in this instance, the answer is yes. Houston jumped out to a 24-0 second-quarter lead and if it had been any team other than Kansas City, all would have seemed lost. That being said, few expected Mahomes to throw four touchdown passes in the 10 minutes before halftime either. When he completed a five-yard scoring strike to Travis Kelce to take a 28-24 lead with 44 seconds left, most fans figured Houston was done but knew they had seen one of the greatest moments in playoff history.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo by Ben Green, courtesy of chiefs.com)