We have said from the beginning of the year that winning at Arrowhead in December wasn't going to be easy. It turns out that we were more right even than we thought. It is going to be cold in Kansas City tomorrow, and you better believe that the fans that turn out of the 9-5 Chiefsare going to be fired up.
The Titansare going to have to stop the Chiefs running game to have any shot at winning. They have two very talented backs in Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles. Jones is the guy that is going to pound it between the tackles and wear a defense down. Charles is a guy like Chris Johnson who has the ability to take it to the house on any play. They will also mix Dexter McCluster in there every now and then for good measure.
We all remember what Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguarsdid to the Titans at LP Field a couple of weeks ago. If they Titans front seven puts up a similar effort tomorrow it is going to make for a really long day. We are familiar with other teams talking about playing their assignments against CJ, but the Titans better be the ones preaching that this week when Charles or McCluster have the ball.
The Chiefs passing offense hasn't put up big numbers. They are 30th in the league throwing for just 184 yards per game, but they have a big receiving threat in Dwayne Bowewho had 13 TDs from weeks six to thirteen. He has been shut down the last two weeks, which is part of the reason I lost two playoff games in fantasy, so that probably means he is due for a big week. One of those week was without Matt Casselwho was sidelined after an emergency appendectomy. Cassel returned last week, practiced all of this week and appears to be fully recovered.
The Chiefs defense has been solid but not spectacular. They give up 20.1 points per game and are 20th against the pass and 13th against the run. Joel from Arrowhead Pride mentioned in our five questions exchange about how well Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr, the Chiefs corners, have played this season, and I expect Kerry Collinsto test them both early. Kenny Britthas gotten this offense rolling the past couple of weeks so look for Collins to take a couple of shots down the field early to open some things up for CJ. Speaking of CJ, he is coming off back to back 100-yard games which appears to be another product of Britt being back on the field. We have seen them re-commit to getting him the ball over the past couple of weeks. I don't expect this game to be any different.
Match-up breakdowns after the jump.Match-ups
Titans pass offense vs. Chiefs pass defense
Advantage: Titans- This one might be a push, but I am giving the Titans the advantage with how well Collins and Britt have played the last couple of weeks.
Titans rush offense vs. Chiefs rush defense
Advantage: Chiefs- KC has only given up two 100-yard rushers this season. CJ is the best running back in the league, but we have seen this season that he cannot do it by himself. I see the Kansas City front giving the Titans O-line fits.
Chiefs pass offense vs. Titans pass defense
Advantage: Push- The Chiefs haven't thrown for a lot of yards this season, but Cassel does have 24 TD passes. I think the Titans secondary matches up pretty well with the Chiefs receivers, but there is always that middle of the field problem for the Titans.
Chiefs rush offense vs. Titans rush defense
Advantage: Chiefs- This is the match-up that makes or breaks this game. The Titans win this game if they can contain Charles and Jones- if not, they probably lose by a pretty healthy margin.
Advantage: Push- We all know about Rob Bironas and Marc Mariani, but the Chiefs have two really good returners in McCluster and Javier Arenas. I really hope Donnie Nickey can captain the special teams into staying in their lanes.
Advantage: Chiefs- .Todd Haley is only in his second year as an NFL head coach, but he has already turned the franchise around. He has also assembled one heck of a coaching staff with Charlie Weiss as his offensive co-ordinator and Romeo Crennel as his defensive coordinator. I have a lot more faith in that brain trust than the one the Titans will be running out there.