Five things to know about the Kansas City Chiefs’ next opponent: Tennessee Titans

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Remember the Titans?

They were the team that made a big splash during the summer by trading for Falcons star receiver Julio Jones. The Titans’ odds for making the Super Bowl got a big boost after that trade.

But Tennessee stumbled to start the season, falling 38-13 to the Cardinals in the opener and later losing to the Jets. However, the Titans played their best game of the season in Monday night’s thrilling 34-31 win over the Bills in Nashville.

Next up for the Titans: the Chiefs.

Each week, I take an early look at the Chiefs’ next opponent, and here are five things to know about Tennessee before Sunday’s game in Nashville. Kickoff is at noon, and KCTV (Ch. 5) will broadcast the game.

1. Nuts and Bolts

The Titans are atop the AFC South with a 4-2 record after Monday night’s win against the Buffalo Bills.

The Chiefs lead the all-time series 30-24, and it dates to 1960 when the Chiefs were the Dallas Texans and the Titans were the Houston Oilers.

Tennessee is averaging 27.7 points per game, which is eighth in the NFL while allowing 26.8 points per game, which is 24th in the league.

The Titans are tied for 22nd in the NFL in takeaways (minus-3)

2. King Henry

Derrick Henry is in a familiar position: leading the league in rushing (783 yards) and touchdowns (10), and he also led the league in those categories in 2019 and 2020.

On Monday night, Henry had 143 rushing yards and three touchdowns against the Bills’ top-ranked defense.

A year ago, Henry rushed for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns, which were both the most in the NFL. In 2019, he had a league-best 1,540 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.

When you hear of teams having a home-run threat, it usually refers to a receiver. But Henry has shown he can take it to the house at any time as the Bills learned Monday night when he scored on a 76-yard run:

Henry is tough on any defense but the Chiefs rank 27th against the rush and will have their hands full.

3. Receiving woes

The Titans made one of the biggest trades of the off-season when they acquired wide receiver Julio Jones from the Falcons.

Jones was expected to join A.J. Brown to form one of the league’s best receiving tandems. Instead, both have been hampered by hamstring injuries, and Brown was dealing with a bout of food poisoning over the weekend, ESPN said during Monday night’s broadcast.

Brown, who told reporters last week his snaps will be limited until Week 10, has 17 receptions for 221 yards and a touchdown.

Jones, who has 15 catches for 263 yards, injured his hamstring again on Monday night. His status for the Chiefs game may be in doubt.

4. Tannehill’s troubles

With his top two receivers being limited, quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s numbers have declined this season.

The Titans are ranked 27th in passing, and Tannehill has just six touchdown passes. He has completed 128 of 202 passes (63.4%) for 1,467 yards and four interceptions. He has an 86.8 quarterback rating.

Tannehill has been sacked 20 times, the most of any AFC quarterback, and only the Bears have allowed more sacks.

One of Tannehill’s offensive linemen was injured Monday.

Taylor Lewan was carted off the field. Fortunately he had movement in his extremities, but he was being evaluated for a concussion, NFL Media said.

5. The defense

The Titans are 24th in passing defense, allowing 276.3 yards per game, and they have intercepted just four passes.

Tennessee is getting pressure on the quarterback on just 20.9% of snaps, which ranks 28th according to Pro Football Reference.

Unfortunately for the Titans, rookie cornerback Caleb Farley left Monday’s game because of a torn ACL, NFL Media reported. Tennessee cornerback Kristian Fulton had been put on injured reserve before Monday’s game, CBS Sports reported, so he’ll be out Sunday.

Tennessee’s rushing defense ranks ninth in the NFL, allowing 107.7 yards per game.

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