Optimism: Chiefs’ run defense
Derrick Henry has been unstoppable during these playoffs, and really since about Week 10, the first time the Titans played the Chiefs this season. In that game, Henry rushed for 188 yards and two scores in a 35-32 Tennessee win.
Going into that game, the biggest thing the Titans had going for them was that the Chiefs sported a poor run defense. Well, that hasn’t really changed.
Kansas City finished No. 26 against the run during the regular season and are coming off a game in which they allowed 94 rushing yards and 4.5 yards per carry to a Houston Texans team that had to go pass-heavy in the second half with the Chiefs scoring points at will.
In back-to-back weeks, Henry has torched the No. 5 and No. 6 run defenses for a combined total of 377 rushing yards (5.9 yards per carry), which has been aided by a Tennessee offensive line that has been playing lights out when run blocking.
And, as the game against the Ravens showed, even selling out to stop the run with stacked boxes isn’t enough to keep The King in check.
The Titans should be able to move the ball on ground at will with Henry against a Chiefs defense that could be without defensive tackle Chris Jones, and that will help ignite a Tennessee passing attack via play action that has failed to total 100 yards or more in either playoff game.
Perhaps most importantly, Tennessee will also be able to keep the ball out of the hands Patrick Mahomes and KC’s explosive offense.