A weekly analysis of the Chiefs' quarterback play:
Rewind: Alex Smith had another statistically poor game against the Oakland Raiders, going 14-of-31 for 128 yards and, for the second straight week, no touchdowns. Smith was under consistent pressure, so the low completion percentage was not all his fault. But it continued a disturbing trend. Smith was just 20-of-39 in the previous week's game against Tennessee but at least then he was able to throw for 245 yards.
Fast-forward: The Houston Texans have allowed fewer passing yards than any other NFL team but that's misleading because opponents have attempted just 137 passes, far and away the lowest total in the league. However, Houston is 27th in yards allowed per pass attempt, so there should be some openings for Smith and the Chiefs to make some passing plays if the protection holds up. The Texans are capable of getting after Smith like the Titans and Raiders did, so that could be a problem for him again.
Not turning it over: Although the passing game has been sluggish at best, Smith isn't making the kind of mistakes that hurt the Chiefs. He has thrown only three interceptions in 216 attempts, and that 1.4 interception percentage is among the best in the league. Opponents have started only three possessions on Kansas City's side of the field, so Smith isn't putting the defense in bad positions.
Prediction: Given his recent struggles, it's not wise to expect a high-percentage passing day from Smith. That's particularly true against the Texans, who allow only 56.2 percent of opponent passes to be completed. Much rests on the ability of his blockers to afford Smith time. If he consistently has time to throw, Smith could respond with one of his better games. If not, look for more of the same.