Titans vs. Chiefs: Staff predictions for Week 10 matchup
John Lowell (Contributor)
Matchups. Each week has its own to exploit, and yet lately, the Titans have been unable to capitalize. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is neck-and-neck with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy for the “outsmart yourself” play-caller of the year award. Yeah, it’s that bad.
This week, it’s simple. Keep the Chiefs offense off of the field for as long as humanly possible. Run RB Derrick Henry until his legs no longer move. Defensively, the Titans don’t have the speed (outside of CB Adoree’ Jackson) to keep up with the Chiefs’ skill position players. Tennessee cannot afford to fall behind. To add insult to injury, DT Jurrell Casey is out for a second straight week, and the Titans lost CB Malcolm Butler for the season last week in Carolina. The worst of all, however, is the Titans being without ILB Jayon Brown on Sunday.
The Chiefs offense is healthy and fast. The Titans will need to bracket WR Tyreek Hill in coverage with Jackson and FS Kevin Byard over the top. Typically, this would be a “serviceable” plan of action, but without your best coverage linebacker (Brown), who will shadow TE Travis Kelce? DC Dean Pees can’t leave ILBs Rashaan Evans or Wesley Woodyard on him, so is it SS Kenny Vaccaro? Even if you manage to shut both Hill and Kelce down, how do you deal with WR Sammy Watkins? The Chiefs also have two other receiving options in Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman, and they can ball, too. Notice how I haven’t even mentioned their rushing attack?
The Titans need to shake QB Patrick Mahomes early. A big play from EDGE rusher Harold Landry in the first quarter could help swing the momentum at home. It’s wishful thinking, though, without the final piece of the puzzle, the most crucial key to victory—run the ball.
Even if everything goes right for the Titans, Kansas City’s offense is just too much to handle, and the boys drop to 4-6 at home.
Final score prediction: Chiefs 28, Titans 17