Titans at Chiefs preview

The Tennessee Titans (7-6) will take on the struggling Kansas City Chiefs (4-9) in a must-win game for the Titans to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Chiefs were blown out in Denver 41-7 last week and the Titans lost to the Chargers in overtime, 23-17.
Field: Grass. Forecast: Mostly sunny, with a high near 33°. WSW wind 6-9 mph. This will be the first cold weather game for the Titans this year.

Kansas City scouting report:

Overview – Chiefs fans are unhappy with coach Herm Edwards and GM Carl Peterson. The rebuilding Chiefs are on a six-game losing skid after starting the season 4-3. Injuries haven’t helped Kansas City’s chances and the talk in Kansas City is now about who the Chiefs will select with their possible top-five draft pick.
Offense – It’s been a carousel for quarterbacks. Trent Green was traded in the offseason and Damon Huard has been replaced by first-year starter Brodie Croyle, with predictable results. In Croyle’s defense, he doesn’t get much help. Remember how David Carr had to take three- and five-step drops to throw quick passes behind a woeful Texans’ o-line? That’s the same situation Croyle’s faced with.
Pro Bowl RB Larry Johnson (foot) will be out for the game. Johnson’s backup, Kolby Smith, is also injured. The Chiefs gained only 16 yards on 17 carries last week.
Future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez is about the only weapon the Chiefs have on offense. He leads all Chiefs receivers in receptions (79), yards (954) and touchdowns (5).
Rookie Dwayne Bowe is the only wideout the Chiefs can count on. They’re looking for someone else to step up.
The Chiefs have one of the worst o-lines in the league. Some of the talk in KC is about drafting Jake Long, plus adding a few more o-linemen in free agency and the draft.
Kansas City is 25th in the league in passing (189 ypg), 31st in total offense (269 ypg) and scoring (13.8 ppg) and dead last in rushing (80 ypg). Ouch.
Defense – The Chiefs play a standard 4-3 defense which is better against the pass than the run. Their coordinator is former Titans coach Gunther Cunningham. For a great read on him, check out this press conference when he returned to Kansas City.
DE Jared Allen is having a great year with 11½ sacks. He’s the only d-lineman worthy of mention.
WLB Donnie Edwards is the best linebacker and leads the Chiefs with 91 tackles. SLB Derrick Johnson is a rising star.
The Chiefs have two veteran corners in Ty Law and Patrick Surtain, who have two picks apiece.
Kansas City is ninth against the pass (201 ypg), 13th in scoring defense (20.8 ppg), 14th in total defense (324 ypg) and 25th in rushing defense (124 ypg).

Key Matchups:

Offense – The Titans’ o-line vs the Chiefs d-line. The Titans’ fourth-ranked rushing offense should do well against the Chiefs’ 25th-best rushing defense. A good individual matchup will be LT Michael Roos vs Allen.
Defense – The Titans will have a tremendous mismatch with their d-line against the Chiefs’ o-line, which has already allowed 48 sacks this year, second worst in the league. The Home of the Chiefs‘ Jon Yoon says this matchup will be an absolute nightmare for Kansas City’s pass protection. David Thornton and Michael Griffin will try to contain Gonzalez. When the Chiefs try to run with their NFL-worst rushing attack the Titans will counter with their tenth-ranked rush defense.

Prediction:

Most games are won or lost in the trenches and if this game follows suit, the Titans should be able to dominate the line of scrimmage and control the game. That won’t necessarily be reflected on the scoreboard, however, especially if the Titans have more problems scoring in the red zone.
Tennessee 20
Kansas City 13
To read what the other side has to say, please check out Jon Yoon and his co-writers on Home of the Chiefs.

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