Opponent: Tennessee Titans (6-8 record, 3rd place in AFC South)
Offensive Statistics: 115.6 rushing yards per game (ranked 13th), 186 passing yards per game (ranked 29th), 301.6 total yards per game (ranked 28th), 23.0 points per game (ranked 13th – tied with Kansas City)
Defensive Statistics: Have allowed 114.1 rushing yards per game (ranked 17th), 248 passing yards per game (ranked 26th), 361.9 total yards per game (ranked 24th), 20.1 points per game (ranked 11th – tied with Kansas City.)
Wins: Oakland (38-13), @ New York Giants (29-10), @ Dallas (34-27), @ Jacksonville (30-3), Philadelphia (31-19), Houston (31-17)
Losses: Pittsburgh (19-11), Denver (26-20), @ San Diego (33-25), @ Miami (29-17), Washington (19-16 OT), @ Houston (20-0), Jacksonville (17-6), Indianapolis (30-28)
Notes: Going into Halloween weekend, Tennessee was sitting pretty with a strong 5-2 record. But a six game losing streak, which they only snapped this past weekend, has completely derailed their season.
Three games into the losing streak, the Titans lost quarterback Vince Young to an injury. At that point, with veteran quarterback Kerry Collins and rookie sixth-round pick Rusty Smith leading the offense, they went from losing some competitive games to barely even showing up on the scoreboard. Criticism began to mount that the team had quit on head coach Jeff Fisher.
But in their last two games, they seem to have found their offensive rhythm again. They scored 28 in a loss to the Colts and are coming off a 31-17 win over Houston. Both of those games were in their division, though, so perhaps they had some extra fire for those contests. And both games were also played in Tennessee – it might not mean anything, but the Titans haven't played a road game in nearly a full month.
This game represents the Chiefs' final contest against the AFC South. They've gone 1-2 to this point, beating Jacksonville at home while losing on the road to the Colts and Texans.
Analysis: The bad news for the Chiefs is that, as mentioned, the Titans have found the offense they were lacking in the aftermath of Vince Young's injury. The good news is that the Titans' increase in offense isn't a secret, so the Chiefs should be prepared for it, unlike Houston was on Sunday.
The Texans seemed to be caught off-guard, standing around like a deer in the headlights as Tennessee jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead. Not that the Chiefs have any reason for a letdown as they make their push for the playoffs, but seeing that the Titans still have life in their offense should keep K.C. on their toes defensively.
Much like the game in St. Louis, the key to beating Tennessee will probably center on the Chiefs' ability to stop the run. While Chris Johnson isn't blowing away the league to the degree he did a year ago, he's still fourth in the NFL in rushing and has the ability to score on every carry.
Even if they can keep Johnson in check, though, the Chiefs still need to contend with the Titans' passing attack, as receiver Kenny Britt has emerged as a playmaker. The Titans also traded for Randy Moss earlier this season, but the team is apparently unable to figure out a way to get Moss and Britt on the field at the same time. As a result, Moss is seeing far less action and hasn't registered a single catch in either of their last two games.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs will surely try to run against a Titans' defense that allowed over 250 rushing yards to the Jaguars a few weeks ago. But the Titans came prepared against the run last week, holding the league's leading rusher Arian Foster to just 1.4 yards a carry.
This will be a tough test for the Chiefs. K.C. only has three wins against non-divisional AFC opponents this season, and the lone team on that list with a winning record is Jacksonville, who was starting their third-string quarterback when the Chiefs played them.
While the Titans are below .500, they're not a pushover by any means. The Chiefs can't expect to simply show up and let their 6-0 home record carry them to a victory.
But if the Chiefs do ultimately make the playoffs, this game could be a decent barometer to judge how they'll fare in the first round. If the best they can do is to squeak past a Tennessee team with nothing to play for, it won't bode well for a showdown with far superior opponents like the Ravens or Jets.
But a convincing win on Sunday could inspire some optimism towards the Chiefs' chances of hanging in against the AFC's elite.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
What did you think of the Titans chances on Sunday?
First Look: Tennessee Titans
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