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Chiefs vs. Titans: 10 Stats to Know

Posted Jan 3, 2018

Some numbers to keep in mind for Saturday's playoff game, presented by DraftKings

The Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) will try and break their five-game home losing streak in the postseason on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CT as they play host to the Tennessee Titans (9-7) in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.

For the fourth time in five years under head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs are one of the 12 teams entering the NFL’s “second season,” and they’re looking for their first home playoff win since they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 back on January 8, 1994.

Flash forward a little more than 30 years and the Chiefs come into the game on Saturday riding some momentum, having won each of their last four games by an average of 12 points—outscoring the Raiders, Chargers, Dolphins and Broncos by a combined 112 to 65.

The Titans, who have dropped three of their last four, got in to the dance for the first time in nine years by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 15-10 last Sunday in Nashville.

But the Titans, who were 6-2 at home this year, won’t be playing in the friendly confines of Nissan Stadium on Saturday—they’ll be playing at Arrowhead, where the Chiefs have won 18 of their last 22 games. The four losses over that span are just by a combined 16 points.

“Our fans are a factor,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said this week. “When you’re dealing with the Chiefs, you’re dealing with all of us. That’s kind of a neat thing.”

It’s a single elimination tournament moving forward, and the Chiefs are looking to keep the momentum going and breaking a few streaks in the process.

Here are 10 stats to know for Chiefs-Titans on Saturday, presented by DraftKings:

1. The Chiefs are pretty good at home

The Chiefs went 6-2 at Arrowhead this year, scoring at least 26 points in six of the eight games.

On the flipside, the Titans went 3-5 on the road this year with wins over the Jaguars (Week 1), Browns (Week 7), and Colts (Week 12), who all went a combined 14-34 on the year.

Also, the Titans scored more than 17 points on the road just three times in eight games this year, while the Chiefs are allowing an average of just 16.9 points per game to opposing teams at Arrowhead Stadium since 2013.

The Chiefs didn’t allow a team to score more than 20 points at Arrowhead this year.

2. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt won the rushing title

As its been reported everywhere by now, Hunt—the Chiefs’ rookie running back—finished as the league’s top rusher and thus won the Chiefs’ third rushing title in franchise history, joining Christian Okoye (1989) and Priest Holmes (2001) as the only players to do that.

Hunt finished with 1,327 yards rushing on 272 carries with eight touchdowns.

The Titans come into the game as one of the league’s top rushing defenses—allowing an average of just 88.8 yards per game on the ground.

In the only two games the Titans played against a running back who finished in the Top 7 in rushing this year, which was the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell and the Rams’ Todd Gurley, those players combined for 53 touches for 379 yards of total offense in those meetings.

That’s good for an average of 7.15 yards per touch.

It’s strength on strength as the Titans’ defense ranks No. 1 in the league in having allowed just three rushes of at least 20 yards this season, while the Chiefs rank fourth in the league offensively with 15 such rushes.

3. The Titans have a lot of guys who get after the passer

The Titans finished the regular season with 43 sacks as a team, which tied them for fifth-best in the league. It’s also their most since 2008.

But what’s most interesting about those numbers is that they don’t have a single player ranked individually among the Top 35 in the league in sacks. They have a lot of guys who contribute to getting after opposing quarterbacks.

Derrick Morgan leads their team with 7.5 sacks, while Brian Orakpo (7.0), Jurrell Casey (6.0), and Wesley Woodyard (5.0) chip in with production as well.

4. The Chiefs pick up chunk plays, the Titans don’t allow them

The Chiefs’ offense ranks fifth in the league with 69 plays of at least 20 yards this season, while the Titans lead the league by having allowed just 40 such plays all season. 

5. Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota looking for success on the road

Mariota—the No. 2 overall pick of the Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft—has completed 62 percent of his passes this season with 15 interceptions and just 13 touchdowns.

It hasn’t been the follow-up everyone was expecting after Mariota had a fantastic second NFL season with 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions last year.

In fact, much of Mariota’s turnover problems this year have come on the road, where he’s tossed 11 of his 15 interceptions.

6. The Chiefs’ defense has been taking the ball away recently

Over their last four games, the Chiefs have forced a total of 12 turnovers, which is second only to the Detroit Lions (13) over that span.

The Titans come into Saturday’s game with 25 giveaways on the year, which ties them for 23rd in the league.

The Chiefs are 9-1 this year when winning the turnover battle.

7. Alex Smith is chucking it deep better than anyone else in the league

The playoff quarterbacks in the AFC not-named Alex Smith have combined to throw 12 touchdown passes of at least 40 yards this season.

The Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Titans’ Marcus Mariota have each thrown four, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger has tossed three, and the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles has thrown one. The Bills’ Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have a touchdown pass of 40 or more yards this season.

And Alex Smith, all by himself, has thrown nine touchdown passes of at least 40 yards this season.

So, Brady and Roethlisberger have combined to throw seven, while Smith has nine.

Cool stat.

8. The Titans love to run the football, and they’re good at it

The Titans are the only team in the AFC with multiple 600-plus-yard rushers, and they’re led by former Alabama standout Derrick Henry, who has a team-high 744 yards rushing on 176 carries this year.

Veteran DeMarco Murray, who is dealing with a knee injury and missed their Week 17 game, chipped in with 184 carries for 659 yards this year.

The Titans’ 18 rushing TDs were tied for the second-most in the NFL.

Overall, the Titans were 6-0 this year when rushing for at least 100 yards, while they were just 3-7 when failing to hit the 100-yard mark.

9. The Titans gave up more points than they scored this year

The Titans are one of just a handful of teams to ever make playoffs with a negative point differential on the season.

In fact, the Titans and Bills this year make it a grand total of 15 teams since 2000 to earn a playoff berth after allowing more points on the season than they scored.

10. Alex Smith has been pretty good in the playoffs

In his postseason career, which includes six games (2-4), Smith has completed 60 percent of his passes for an average of 6.73 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

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