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Five Things to Know About the Tennessee Titans

Posted Jan 2, 2018

The Chiefs will open the postseason on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium

The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Tennessee Titans this Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium to begin the postseason.

Here’s five things to know about the Chiefs’ upcoming opponent.

1. The Titans are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008

Tennessee is in the postseason for the first time in nine years, snapping the sixth-longest playoff drought in the NFL.

Kansas City hasn’t faced the Titans in the postseason since the franchise relocated to Tennessee, though the two teams met twice when the Titans were still the Houston Oilers – in 1994 and 1962 – with the Chiefs winning both contests.

2. Tennessee is led by quarterback Marcus Mariota

Now in his third season in the league, Mariota struggled a bit this year, tossing 15 interceptions to just 13 touchdowns.

His 79.3 passer rating ranked 27th in the league among qualified quarterbacks.

Mariota has faced Kansas City just once, leading Tennessee to a comeback victory at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 15 of last season. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 241 yards and a pick in the game.

Titans’ kicker Ryan Succop – who played for the Chiefs from 2009 to 2013 – hit the game-winning field goal in that last meeting between the two teams. Succop, along with Titans’ backup quarterback and former Chief Matt Cassel, will both be back at Arrowhead on Saturday.

3. The Titans ranked in the middle of the pack on both sides of the ball this season

Tennessee ranked 19th in points scored (20.9) and 17th in points allowed (22.3) this season, finishing with a point differential of negative 22. The Titans and the Buffalo Bills are the only teams to reach the postseason this year that allowed more points than they scored.

The Titans’ defense is built around their pass rush, led by linebackers Derrick Morgan (7.5 sacks), Brian Orakpo (7.0 sacks) and Wesley Woodyard (5.0 sacks) and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (6.0 sacks).

Tennessee got to the quarterback 43 times overall this season – tied for the fifth-most in the league.

Offensively, tailback Derrick Henry led the Titans in rushing (744) while splitting carries with veteran DeMarco Murray (659 yards).

Mariota’s top targets through the air were tight end Delanie Walker (807 yards, 3 touchdowns) and wide receivers Rishard Matthews (795 yards, 4 touchdowns), Eric Decker (563, 1 touchdown) and rookie Corey Davis (375 yards, 0 touchdowns).

4. Henry recently took on a larger role in Tennessee's offense

The second-year running back ran for 744 yards and five touchdowns this season, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, while splitting the carries with Murray.

Murray suffered a knee injury in Week 16 and missed Tennessee’s season finale against Jacksonville, thrusting Henry into an even larger role – and he struggled. Henry carried the ball a career-high 28 times but picked up just 51 yards, averaging 1.8 yards per carry.

It remains to be seen if Murray will suit up this weekend, but Henry will likely play a large role in Tennessee’s offense regardless.  

5. Tennessee struggled on the road this season

The Titans went 3-5 on the road this year, beating only one team with a winning record (Jacksonville in Week 1). The Titans’ last two road victories were against Indianapolis and Cleveland, who combined for only four wins this season.

The Titans averaged 17.5 points per game on the road this season – tied for the 10th lowest mark in the league.

The Chiefs will look to keep that trend going on Saturday as the two teams face off to begin the postseason. 

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