1. Name a Chiefs player on offense to keep an eye on.
Gotta be RB Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs may be passing the ball more these days but Charles is still a major factor. He's on pace for 280 carries this season, which is just below his career high. He's also on pace for a whopping 92 receptions, which would double his previous career high. It's the passing game where you really have to control Charles. He will catch multiple balls out of the backfield on Sunday. Once you get him into space, he can be dangerous. Charles is the one you need to stop if you hope to slow down the Chiefs offense.
2. Name one player on defense to keep an eye on.
CB Brandon Flowers did not play last week due to injury but he probably will play this week. He used to play on just one side of the field but these days he could follow the best receiver. This is a key matchup because the Chiefs play a lot of man-to-man and they don't always have help for their corners. They expect a lot out of them. The Chiefs will do what they can to pressure the passer and stop the run while hoping Flowers (and Sean Smith) can hold down the corners. The key to beating the Chiefs is hitting on those go routes when you get one-on-one coverage. You better be quick though because the Chiefs also lead the league in sacks.
3. Is Alex Smith winning games for this team or just managing games for this team?
Managing it and doing a fine job at that. At some point the Chiefs will need to have a quarterback who can go out and win them the game but they haven't needed that yet. Smith's best attribute is that he's not screwing it up for the Chiefs. Last week were his first turnovers of the season. He plays it safe and is fine taking a sack or throwing it away vs.potentially throwing an interception. We complain about Alex Smith's arm and not going deep but as long as the Chiefs defense is playing like this, and as long as Alex Smith continues to come up big when they need him the most (in the fourth quarter the past three weeks), they can win with him. When you have a game breaker like Jamaal Charles, "checking down" isn't such a bad option.
4. Justin Houston has already almost equaled his total of sacks from last season. What is different about this year that has allowed him to get off to such a fast start?
He is a young player, first of all. So you expect to see big leaps early in their career. That's what's happening with Houston. We saw it coming over the past couple of years but he really blew it up this year. He has 7.5 sacks right now -- three in Week 1 and 4.5 in Week 3. The problem with stopping Houston is that if you choose to give him extra attention (which you need to do to guarantee you can stop him) then Tamba Hali will step up on the other side. Tamba had two sacks and a forced fumble last week as Houston was shut down. It's sort of a pick your poison situation. This pass rush is why the Chiefs are able to leave their corners alone -- the quarterback may not have enough time to even get the ball out.
5. Write the headline in Sunday's Tennessean.
"Chiefs outlast Titans, 24-20" Neither team is going to make a lot of mistakes in this game, save a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception or two. For the Chiefs to win they need to outlast the Titans and capitalize on their field position and their trips to the red zone.