Tennessee Titans Must Be Aggressive To Win in Wild Card Game
The Chiefs defense was one of the worst in the NFL this season. They ranked 28th in yards allowed and gave up many big plays through the air; mostly due to the loss of Eric Berry in week one. Their run defense was not much better as they ranked 25th–allowing 118 yards per game on the ground. Despite all the yards allowed they were tough to score on–ranking 15th in points allowed.
However, the Chiefs only lost at home twice this season. A six point loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week six that ended their perfect start to the season and another six point loss to the Buffalo Bills in week 12 that was part of their four game losing streak.
The Titans gave up fewer yards both through the air and on the ground but allowed more points than the Chiefs. Kansas City’s bend but don’t break defense has held serve well enough to catapult them to a division title.
The Last Meeting
Last time the Titans visited Kansas City was on December 18, 2016 and Ryan Succop kicked a 53-yard field goal at the gun to beat his old team. The Titans were down 17-7 in that game. After adding a field goal Derrick Henry scored his second touchdown of the game but an unsuccessful two point try kept the Titans down 17-16. Finally Succop’s kick won the game after being unsuccessfully iced by Andy Reid. In that game, Henry and DeMarco Murray rushed for 147 yards. But the running game has not been as good as last season, meaning despite the Chiefs defense not boasting good numbers the Titans can’t just ground and pound their way to victory. There will be opportunities through the air for the Titans to attack, and Marcus Mariota must take advantage.
The Titans can’t excessively rely on the run game because the Chiefs are capable of scoring quickly. Tyreek Hill is one of the most electrifying receivers in the league, and the big play threat he and Travis Kelce provide mean that even if the Titans control possession it doesn’t mean that the Titans will be put in a better position to win.
Corey Davis finally seems to be healthy, and during the 2016 game Rishard Matthews had a 46-yard reception. Big plays are going to be needed in order to the Titans to get this win. Taywan Taylor is the potential X-factor in this game, and he could give the Chiefs something more to think about.
Will Mike Mularkey and Terry Robiskie utilize their weapons and try to win this game or will they try not to lose; as they have most of the season? That answer will determine if the Titans get their first playoff win since 2003.