There’s a decent chance that we might see the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs square off in the postseason, but they will first match up this week on Sunday Night Football. Although the final score was only 17-10, the Titans ran all over the Houston Texans in their victory last week. Before their bye week, Kansas City throttled the San Francisco 49ers 44-23 on the road.
Let’s take a look at three keys to the game between these two solid teams.
Run, Run, and Run Some More
It’s no secret that the Titans want to pound opponents on the ground regardless of who they are facing, but that desire to effectively set the tone will be even more important against the Chiefs. Tennessee does not have anywhere near the firepower on offense, or through the air more specifically, to keep up with Kansas City in a shootout. The gameplan for Tennessee will be to dominate time of possession, and keep Patrick Mahomes off of the field.
Despite some mild concerns about his foot during the practice week, running back Derrick Henry appears to be gaining a full head of steam in recent weeks. He was a man amongst boys against Houston last week, posting 219 yards rushing with two touchdowns. The competition will be much more formidable this week, but Tennessee knows that it’s their only reasonable path to victory.
This strategy will take on even more importance if starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is limited or forced to miss the game with an ankle injury.
Kansas City’s New Toy
Many around the NFL believed that the Chiefs would be in the mix to acquire another wide receiver during the course of the season, and that belief came to fruition before Tuesday’s trade deadline. They swung a deal for New York Giants pass catcher Kadarius Toney, who had fallen out of favor with the team that drafted him.
Toney’s biggest hurdle has been staying on the field, as the former 2021 first round pick has only appeared in 12 career games in just over a season and a half. By all accounts, it seems like his troublesome hamstrings are now healthy, and will be active for Kansas City moving forward.
It’ll be interesting to see just how head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy deploy Toney in his initial snaps with the team.
Surprising Matchup Trends
Even though the Chiefs have been one of the best teams in the NFL for several years, the Titans have played them extremely well in their last few meetings. Tennessee has beaten Kansas City in four of their last five meetings, including a 27-3 drubbing last October.
Of course, Kansas City won the most important matchup during that span in January 2020 in the AFC Championship game. However, Tennessee’s success does show that they are able to impose their will and make the game a slugfest against one of the most dynamic teams.