NFL Football Preview: Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans

NFL Football Preview:  Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans

Two surprising teams that have shown marked improvement over 2012 face off in Nashville as the Tennessee Titans host the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City went 2-14 last year but have started 4-0 in the first year of new coach Andy Reid. The Titans were 6-10 last year but are finally showing some progress under third year coach Mike Munchak and are off to a 3-1 start. The Titans split their first two games on the road and have won two straight at home going 3-0-1 against the spread. Even the Titans’ loss is somewhat impressive–they took a far superior Houston team to overtime. Kansas City is 3-1 against the spread.

The fact that the Chiefs have rebounded nicely isn’t a huge surprise. They had a lot of talent last season (6 Pro Bowlers) but suffered from the inept coaching of Romeo Crennel and their turnover prone quarterback Matt Cassel. Both are gone now with Reid calling the shots and former San Francisco 49ers starter Alex Smith the starting quarterback. Smith isn’t a ‘game breaker’ but a first rate ‘game manager’ The Chiefs rely heavily on a power rushing attack led by running back Jamaal Charles. The worst news for Kansas City could be their success–they’re something of a ‘trendy’ team due to their undefeated start.

The Titans, meanwhile, are much more ‘under the radar’ but they’re markedly improved from last season. Tennessee spent a ton of money in free agency and revamped their coaching staff with the most significant acquisition being defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams is something of a ‘heel’ in the NFL these days based on his role in the New Orleans Saints’ ‘bounty gate’ fiasco but he’s a first rate defensive mind. Also working against the Titans in terms of public perception (and pointspread valuation) is the fact that starting quarterback Jake Locker will be out this week. The silver lining to this ‘dark cloud’ is the backup–former Buffalo Bills’ starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Harvard graduate is (as you’d expect) one of the sharper quarterbacks in the league and should be able to fill Locker’s shoes admirably. Chiefs are due for a loss and are probably not to the point they should be road favorites. The sports media ‘talking heads’ will call it a huge upset but the Titans win outright.