The Kansas City Chiefs look to stay undefeated Sunday afternoon when they visit the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. Both teams are looking to continue impressive runs following disappointing seasons.
The Chiefs are off to their best start in ten years after winning a whopping two games last season, meanwhile across the field the Titans have already picked up three wins following a 2012 that saw them victorious six times.
Both teams bring ferocious defenses, with Kansas City’s allowing just 10.3 points per game, the best in the NFL be more than a point. Tennessee counters with a top 10 unit giving up 17.3 a contest.
On the other side of the ball, you’ll see two offenses that will try to keep the ball moving without taking too many risks. The Chiefs turned the ball over for the first time last week in a win over the New York Giants, while the Titans have been even better, failing to turn it over through four games.
If the Titans are going to go another week without a turnover, they’ll have to do it with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. The veteran took over last week when starting quarterback Jake Locker was carted off the field with a hip injury. Fitzpatrick has been anything but careful with the football, throwing 39 interceptions in his last 32 starts.
With both teams still flying high after rolling over New York teams, one will take a step back Sunday afternoon. Here are the players on offense, defense and special teams for the Chiefs that can keep them on the right track.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
Thanks to a strong defensive backfield, the Titans defense has yet to allow 300 yards in the air. However, other than their complete shutdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a runner each week average at least 4.7 yards on the ground.
That should be music to the ears of Charles who has averaged just 4.1 yards per carry, well below his career average of 5.7.
Though it is worth watching to see if the extreme blisters on his feet will cause problems, Charles has already proven this season he can get the job done when necessary. The explosive running back has averaged nearly six yards per carry in the fourth quarter the last three weeks.
Look for Charles to do more than wait around to try and be the closer. He can do that be providing his first monster play of the season. His longest play from scrimmage so far has been 31 yards, but the last three years he’s turned in big plays from 91, 80 and 86 yards, respectively.
Defense: Derrick Johnson
This will be the sixth straight season Johnson is going to line up against Fitzpatrick. Considering he’s never played under center in the AFC West, that’s quite the streak.
For good reason, Justin Houston, Dontari Poe and Tamba Hali Hali will get the majority of the attention from the Titans offense this week. If they are going to keep their backup quarterback upright, those are the guys they’ll need to find a way to stop.
But as Fitzpatrick tries to do his best to live up to what Jake Locker was doing over the first four weeks, Johnson is the perfect guy to take advantage of his mistakes. After all, besides Hali, no one else on the Chiefs defense has seen Fitzpatrick more up close.
Special Teams: Quintin Demps
We haven’t seen the safety get many chances yet as the Chiefs kick returner. So far he’s returned just four kicks, though he’s averaged a healthy 35 yards with a pretty 57 yarder against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Demps should get plenty of chances Sunday against a Tennessee team that has had 12 kicks returned against them. They’ve yet to give up a return longer than 34 yards, but considering the shortest one Demps has put up this season is 22 yards, something has to give.