Titans vs. Chiefs: 6 Questions with KC Kingdom Co-Editor Ben Nielsen

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Joshua: Which player on Kansas City’s roster do you believe has the potential to hurt the Titans the most on Sunday?

Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe (92) in the third quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Ben: Dontari Poe.

Everything the Chiefs do on defense begins with what nose tackle Dontari Poe does at the line of scrimmage. His emergence this season is what has made the Chiefs defense so potent. If you remember the Chiefs defensive line sack number from last year, Poe has almost passed that by himself in four games (3.5 sacks). Everyone in Kansas City knew he was highly athletic – he was drafted 11th overall because of his combine where benched 225 pounds 44 times and ran a 4.98 40 while weighing 346 pounds – but no one thought he would be this kind of difference maker this year.

Poe is unnaturally quick and well-conditioned for a guy who weighs 340 pounds, which has caused a lot of problems for interior offensive linemen. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about with his quickness and power: http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/article/media_slots/photos/001/071/119/4d70d6b_original.gif?1379604256

Because teams have to account for Poe in the middle, it allows Justin Houston and Tamba Hali to face more one-on-one situations on the outside. Their pass rush has led to most of the Chiefs success on defense.

It would seem from the outside looking in that Kansas City should like their matchup between Poe and center Robert Turner. Should Tennessee decide to leave them one-on-one, Poe could have a huge day. Choosing to double or triple team Poe means either one-on-one match-ups for Houston (7.5 sacks) or Hali (3.5 sacks) or leaving the tight end and running back in to help block, which limits what Tennessee can do in the passing game and plays into what KC wants to do.