These two teams have been very similar in their approaches this season.
Both protect the football, as the Titans have committed zero turnovers while the Chiefs have tallied just three thus far (both at a plus-9 turnover margin); both get after the quarterback, with Tennessee racking up 14 sacks and Kansas City leading the NFL with 18; both are in the top 10 in defensive yards and points allowed; and both have relied on a quarterback that prides himself on protecting the football, as Jake Locker has not coughed up the ball at all this season, while Alex Smith has tossed just two interceptions.
The Titans will be without Locker for the foreseeable future (hip injury) however, instead relying on Ryan Fitzpatrick -- who has had success against the Chiefs in the past, throwing for 386 yards and six touchdowns in his last two starts. While against some of the same players, Kansas City's defensive identity is much different than it was the previous two seasons.
This game should be played very tightly, but there is big play potential on both sides of the ball.
Here are a few things to follow during Sunday afternoon's contest.
When: Sunday, October 6 at 1:00 pm EST on CBS
Where: LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee
Key Matchup: Titans offensive line vs. Chiefs defensive front
Players to Keep an Eye On: Dwayne Bowe and Kendall Wright
Chiefs Bold Prediction and Fantasy Beast: Alex Smith Tosses Three Touchdown Passes for Second-Straight Week
The Chiefs brought in Alex Smith to be a better version of what Matt Cassel was supposed to be in Kansas City: a game manager that picks his spots and protects the football. The former No. 1 overall pick has done just that so far, completing a shade over 60 percent of his passes and throwing seven touchdowns to just two interceptions through four games.
As the opposing defense continues to key on Jamaal Charles, Smith will have his chance at a big game or two this season. And in comparison to what Kansas City has been accustomed to out of its quarterbacks recently, last week's 288-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Giants is huge.
In a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans, Tennessee slowed Arian Foster down to the tune of just 79 yards and one score on 19 carries. Matt Schaub, however, tallied 298 yards and three touchdowns of his own.
The Titans should employ a similar approach in keeping the Chiefs offense at bay this week, so Smith will have the opportunity to pick his spots and excel. He has never thrown for three touchdowns in consecutive weeks in his career, but that streak could end Sunday.
Titans Bold Prediction and Fantasy Bust: Chris Johnson Fails to Notch 10 Carries (4 times)
Regardless of how successful Chris Johnson has been rushing the football over the years (wildly inconsistent at best), it is obvious the running back is the center of the Titans' offensive attack. The former 2,000 yard rusher has tallied at least 10 carries in all but four games in his career, highlighting his importance to Tennessee.
The Chiefs not only know that Johnson will be fed the ball relentlessly on Sunday, their defense is capable of completely shutting the running back down -- especially if Kansas City is in control on the scoreboard for the majority of the contest.
Kansas City has allowed 100 rushing yards just once this season, as the Philadelphia Eagles racked up 264 on Thursday Night Football two weeks ago. In the other three contests, however, the Chiefs are giving up only 68.7 yards on the ground.
Though Fitzpatrick is a capable backup quarterback, Tennessee's intentions will be to get the ball in Johnson's hands as often as possible. But the Chiefs have a different agenda, and will do whatever it takes to not let the home run threat beat them.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Tennessee Titans
- Alex Smith