Chiefs host Titans in matchup of early playoff contenders
(AP) - The Tennessee Titans (5-2) visit the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) on Sunday night. Here are some notes on the contest.
Sunday, 7:20 p.m. CT, NBC
CONSENSUS LINE: Chiefs by 12 1/2.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Titans 5-2; Chiefs 3-4.
SERIES RECORD: Chiefs lead 30-25.
LAST MEETING: Titans beat Chiefs 27-3 on Oct. 24, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee.
LAST WEEK: Titans beat Texas 17-10; Chiefs were off.
TITANS OFFENSE: OVERALL (32), RUSH (9), PASS (31), SCORING (24)
TITANS DEFENSE: OVERALL (15), RUSH (2), PASS (24), SCORING (9)
CHIEFS OFFENSE: OVERALL (2), RUSH (23), PASS (2), SCORING (1).
CHIEFS DEFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (3), PASS (30), SCORING (23).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Titans even; Chiefs plus-2.
TITANS PLAYER TO WATCH: Safety Kevin Byard needs one interception to tie Michael Griffin and Ken Houston for eighth in franchise history with eight of them, and give him the most since the Titans era began in 1999. But getting it will be tough against Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown just five this season.
CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Kadarius Toney was acquired for third- and sixth-round picks from the Giants last week. He’s been dealing with hamstring injuries this season, but is healthy now, and he should be helpful not only in the passing game but on punt returns. Rookie WR Skyy Moore has struggled with fumbled punts this season, and Toney could give Kansas City a sure-handed player on special teams until he gets up to speed with the playbook.
KEY MATCHUP: Titans RB Derrick Henry against the Chiefs run defense, which is allowing 92 yards per game to rank third in the league. Henry has topped 100 yards rushing in four straight games, including 219 yards and two touchdowns last week against Houston.
KEY INJURIES: QB Ryan Tannehill hopes to return from an ankle injury that kept him out last week against Houston. DT Jeffery Simmons (ankle), FB Tory Carter (neck), FS Amani Hooker (shoulder) and DT Naquan Jones (illness) missed practice time this week. ... Chiefs TE Jody Forston (bruised quad) missed practice this week, but CB Trent McDuffie (hamstring) and DE Mike Danna (calf) are expected to be back.
SERIES NOTES: The Titans have won five of the past six in the series, including a playoff win in 2018. The lone win by the Chiefs during that stretch came three seasons ago at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC championship game. Prior to that game, the Chiefs had not beaten their old AFL rival from their days as the Houston Oilers since a 26-17 victory in Nashville on Oct. 6, 2013, the first season for coach Andy Reid in Kansas City.
STATS AND STUFF: Tennessee has won five straight after its 0-2 start. It is trying to start 6-2 for a third straight season. ... Rookie QB Malik Willis made his first career start in place of the injured Tannehill last week against Houston. Willis was 6 of 10 for 55 yards with an interception.
Henry is coming off his sixth career 200-yard rushing game, tying O.J. Simpson and Adrian Peterson for the most in NFL history. His two TD runs gave him 75, passing Eddie George for the most in franchise history. The Titans finished with 314 yards rushing against Houston, the second most in team history.
The Titans held Houston to 161 yards, their best defensive performance since holding the Steelers to 127 on Sept. 19, 2010. Kansas City has scored at least 40 points three times. The franchise record for a season is five.
Andy Reid is 20-3 in games coming off a bye, including 12-1 in games played at home. Mahomes has won 55 of his first 70 starts, tying Ken Stabler for second-most since the NFL began keeping such stats in 1950. Otto Graham won 56 of his first 70. Mahomes passed Trent Green for second in completions among Chiefs quarterbacks with 1,726 his last time out. Len Dawson has the record with 2,115.
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce can tie Rob Gronkowski for most 100-yard receiving games by his position with one more. Kelce has caught a pass in 134 straight games, the longest streak in franchise history. The Chiefs are 46-3 since 2018 when holding their opponent under 27 points. The Titans scored 17 in their win over Houston last week. Chiefs DE Carlos Dunlap needs two sacks to reach 100 for his career.
FANTASY TIP: The Titans have struggled against the pass, and that bodes well for Mahomes and Co. While nobody in his wide receiver group has been dependable this season because of the way he spreads the ball around, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman are trending in that direction. Smith-Schuster seven catches for 124 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago in San Francisco, and Hardman had a TD catch while running for two more scores.
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