Latest posts by Yusuf Nakhooda (see all)
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This much anticipated matchup between these two AFC teams gives them the opportunity to advance further in the playoffs.
The Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) and Tennessee Titans (9-7) both secured playoff berths late in the NFL season. The Chiefs hope to change the jinx of not winning a playoff game at Arrow Head Stadium in 24 years. For the Titans, this is their first playoff game since 2008.
Keys to the Game
Tennessee is a active bunch on both sides of the football with good speed, including the mobile Marcus Mariota at quarterback. The Chiefs must remain wary of the scrambling ability of Mariota and his ability to make plays outside the pocket. Mariota finished the regular season with just 13 touchdown passes versus 15 interceptions. The Titans will be with out running back DeMarco Murray, who tore his MCL last week vs. Jacksonville, so look for Derrick Henry to get the bulk of the carries against a depleted Chiefs defensive line.
The Chiefs enter the game with a series of injuries taking a hard toll on their special teams. The team lost kick returners Akeem Hunt and De’Anthony Thomas to injuries in the season finale for the remainder of the season, leaving them with only wide receiver Tyreek Hill with significant experience returning kickoffs. The team has been reluctant to expose a key offensive weapon to the kick return game.
The team is also battling injuries along the defensive line, with Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Jarvis Jenkins missing practice time this week. That could prove pivotal in a game in which the Chiefs hope to slow down the Titans’ rushing attack and contain Mariota in the pocket.
The Chiefs and Alex Smith will look to manage the game with the running attack of Kareem Hunt, and play action downfield to tight end Travis Kelce.
The X- Factor for the Chiefs is Travis Kelce. He can open up the game and that will get the running game going for Kareem Hunt. If Alex Smith and Kelce can continue their chemistry, it will be a long day for the Titans.
The X- factor for the Titans is Marcus Mariota. He has great running ability to get key first downs, and it will also allow him to make passes downfield to Delanie Walker, Eric Decker, and Rishard Matthews.
Prediction: This game will come down to which team can make their most of their opportunities. Look for a close game with the Chiefs coming out victorious. A close game will favor Kansas City, who are one huge Tyreek Hill or Kareem Hunt play away from getting the advantage. Chiefs will advance, with a final of 21-17.