The second season is now upon us. The Titans, although it was not always pretty, made the playoffs, breaking a non-playoff streak that only rivaled the Buffalo Bills. With that now out of the way and the Titans able to breathe a little easier since they made the playoffs, the focus now has to go to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs, like the Titans, had an up-and-down season. They started strong, had a lull in the middle of the season and finished on a high note, defeating their division rival, the Denver Broncos. Now they are at home for the Wildcard round of the playoffs and are hosting a Titans team that has had some issues finding out who they are. For the Chiefs and the Titans, there is no tomorrow for the loser of this game. Win-or-go-home situations seem to have an effect on people one way or the other. Some players step up in these type of moments while others tend to crumble in the moment. What will the Titans do? Will they step up or will they falter when it matters most? We don’t know the answers to those questions at this point, but these six points could lead to a Titans win on Saturday.
1) Keep Them Guessing
The Tennessee Titans have been known to come out the same way each and every week. Try to establish the run and then throw the football. So for this game and for this situation, why not change it up. Come out firing with all your weapons on display. Put Marcus Mariota in positions to win, where the defense does not expect him to throw the football. If the Titans can get the Chiefs defense off balance, the game is will come a little bit easier for them and they will be in control when both units are on the field.
2) Let’s Get Physical
The focus of the Tennessee Titans last season was the offensive line. This year, the focus has gone away from them but it should actually still be them. The five guys up front have not been as physical as they were last season and the offense has paid for it. So for this game and the magnitude of the situation, the Titans offensive line needs to remember who they were last season. Scheme and play-calling won’t matter as much if the big guys up front handle their business. Taylor Lewan and crew need to bring the physical play to the Chiefs.
3) Crossing The Field, Picking The Players
The Tennessee Titans are limited in speed receivers. So with that being said, the Titans have to use design of plays to get their receivers open. One way to do that is to run crossing routes. The hardest routes to cover for a defensive back is when someone is running across the field away from them and the Titans have some pretty good runners of those routes in Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews. These two could make life hard on the Chiefs secondary. Along with running these routes, combination routes that act like picks on the field could help the Titans get open and create those chunk plays as well.
1) Stay Alert For The Deep Ball
The Kansas City Chiefs are a mostly dink-and-dunk offense. While the offense likes to matriculate down the field, they have shown some explosiveness in the passing game and that can directly be tied to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The talented second-year player can burn you deep in a hurry, so the Titans need to be aware where he is at all times. The more the Titans can keep the deep ball and especially Hill in front of them, then the Chiefs offense becomes a little less dangerous.
2) Hunting For Kareem
Kareem Hunt, the talented rookie running back, has been good for the Chiefs this year. He can catch the football out of the backfield and runs it well too. For the Titans front seven, the don’t want to see him run well because that would mean they would be going home. If the Titans are physical up front and if Wesley Woodyard and Avery Williamson are making their run fits, the Titans should have a fairly successful time slowing down the NFL’s leading rusher this season.
3) Make Alex Smith Beat You
Sounds simple enough but it isn’t quite as easy as it seems. Alex Smith has been known as a mobile quarterback his entire career. What he also has been known as is a quarterback that likes to check the ball down and is known not to throw the deep ball very much. He has thrown the deep ball more this year, but the best thing the Titans could do is make Smith beat you with his arm. If he does it then fine, but there are more than enough examples of him not being able to beat anyone with his arms and betting on that would be the smart choice.
The regular season is over and the money rounds are here. It will be cold when the Titans and Chiefs step on the field to play Saturday afternoon. While it may be cold, the team that has the fire and desire to win the game will more than likely come out on top. Will that be the Titans or the Chiefs are the answer we all are looking for.
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