The Tennessee Titans have returned to the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2008, and they will be greeted by the Kansas City Chiefs this Saturday on “Wild Card Weekend”.
While there may be many keys to the game, one that sticks out for the Titans is containing Kansas City’s offense, which can be explosive when needed. Three players have stuck out for the Chiefs’ offense this season: Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill. These three playmakers shoulder the bulk of the Kansas City’s workload. Let’s take a look at Andy Reid’s offense as a whole and Hunt, Kelce, and Hill respectively.
The Chiefs come into Saturday’s matchup at 10-6 and AFC West Champions. Obviously, this is in part mostly to their offense. Kansas City’s offense is ranked in the top ten in the NFL in points (6th), total yards (5th), rushing yards (9th), and passing yards (7th).
This was evident early in the regular season as Kansas City began 5-0 with a win on opening night against the New England Patriots. However, the Chiefs would struggle by losing six of their next seven games to put them at 7-6. They would go on to win their next three and finish 10-6.
The point is Kansas City finished with a top-five offense even with the struggles they faced mid-season, and that is impressive no matter how you spin it.
Now, let’s take a look at the Chiefs’ three pro bowlers: Running Back Kareem Hunt, Tight End Travis Kelce, and Wide Receiver/Returner Tyreek Hill. After seeing what each contributes to the Chiefs, it is difficult to decide who is most vital to the offense out of the three or who the Titans should aim to control.
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt has been nothing short of fantastic for the Chiefs this year. He won the NFL Rushing Title in 2017 with 1327 yards and is a focal point of this offense. This is clear by the Chiefs ability to win football games when Hunt is the leading rusher of the game they are playing. Kareem was the leading rusher in each of Kansas City’s first five wins. In fact, Hunt has been the leading rusher in all of the Chiefs’ wins except for two.
Here is an incredible run by Hunt against the Eagles early in the season
— Bovada Official (@BovadaLV) September 17, 2017
Eliminating Hunt from impacting the game could prove beneficial for the Titans this Saturday. Should they look to contain him first or focus the attention to the other two playmakers, Kelce and Hill?
Fifth-year Tight End Travis Kelce had another fantastic year for the Chiefs as he was first on the team in receptions with eighty-three and second in receiving yards with 1,038. Kelce is an interesting piece of the Kansas City offense that can definitely damage a team if ignored. Randomly, Andy Reid will dump a shovel pass to Kelce or give him the ball on a trick plays to throw. He is a versatile player that teams never really can predict how he will be utilized.
Below is a touchdown Kelce had against the Eagles that involved some trickery.
Travis Kelce with an incredible leap and a touchdown! pic.twitter.com/UO2dcDTm1j
— SportsNotes (@SportsNotes23) September 17, 2017
Look for the Chiefs to try to get Kelce advantageous mismatches against the Titans defense this Saturday.
Last but not least, let’s look at the electric playmaker Tyreek Hill. Tyreek is without a doubt one of the most dynamic football players one will ever watch, and it does not take long to recognize it when watching him. He is listed as a wide receiver and is seventh in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,183; however, he has been seen making plays as a running back and kick returner as well.
Defenses never quite know where Hill will line up, and this is what makes him so effective. Some of Hill’s electric plays this season are showcased below, including a run vs. the Titans last year.
— NFL (@NFL) September 8, 2017
Officially the fastest man in the NFL?@Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) December 20, 2016
Hill can change the momentum of a game in an instant, and the Titans cannot afford to let him do so this Saturday.
Who Should be Stopped?
There is no easy answer for how the Titans can win in Arrowhead Stadium in a playoff environment. It is certain that they do not want to find themselves in a shootout with Kansas City’s offense if it gets hot. Should the Titans focus specifically on taking one of these pro bowlers out of the game or containing all three of them as much as possible? Kickoff in Kansas City this Saturday is at 3:35 Central Time.