Sep 29, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) scores a touchdown against the New York Giants in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 31-7. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans (3-1) will host an undefeated Kansas City Chiefs team (4-0) during Week 5 of the 2013-14 NFL season. If you’re a Titans enthusiast, how encouraging is it that your team is only a 2.5-point underdog despite relying on Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead a victory against an undefeated team?
That’s the situation. On Sep. 29, Jake Locker suffered a sprained hip during the Titans’ 38-13 victory over the New York Jets. At 3-1, Locker should miss at least the next three games before the bye week. If the Titans want to remain above .500 heading into Week 8, they’ll have to beat one of these three teams with Fitzpatrick as starting quarterback: Chiefs (4-0), Seattle Seahawks (4-0) and San Francisco 49ers (defending NFC champions, 2-2).
Many fans are emphasizing the Chiefs matchup because it appears like the most-winnable game. Furthermore, it could have major playoff implications because it involves two AFC opponents who could fight for wild-card berths. After winning two games all of 2012, Andy Reid and Alex Smith have gotten the Chiefs off to a 4-0 start. They’ve won despite Jamaal Charles having not run for 100 yards in a game this season. Charles has played a big role in the passing game. He has 23 receptions for 213 yards with two touchdowns. Not surprising in Reid’s offense.
Are either of these teams a legitimate playoff contender? Critics may point to the early-season strength of schedule. The Titans’ wins have come against the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4), San Diego Chargers (2-2) and New York Jets (2-2). That’s 4-8. The Chiefs’ victories have come against the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4), Dallas Cowboys (2-2), Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) and New York Giants (0-4). That’s 3-13.
Let’s try to read between the lines. Is this a potential sucker bet? Giving the Titans less than a field goal worth of points when they’re starting a No. 2 quarterback against a 4-0 team? Some people will jump on that without realizing that both teams rely on stingy defenses. Even without Locker, this is the best team that the Chiefs have faced (yes, better than Dallas, at least at Arrowhead Stadium).
What do our readers think? Will Fitzpatrick step up and lead a conservative offense to a Titans win? Are either of these teams overrated? Which parts of their teams are overrated?
Discuss in the comments, Twitter or Facebook.
SOURCES: Covers.com (Oct. 1)