This week, the 4-0 Chiefs swing down to Nashville to take on the 3-1 Tennessee Titans (2-0 at home in 2013). Going into week 4, neither team had committed a turnover. After committing two turnovers against the Giants, the Chiefs have allowed the Titans to remain the only team in the league without a turnover. Both teams have significant injury concerns, but the game should be a great one. Here’s a look at some Chiefs players to watch this week.
1. Jamaal Charles. Ok, I hear you. Isn’t he always a player to watch? Of course. However, he has been slowed this week due to a hamstring injury. The Titans defense has allowed under 100 rushing ypg average this season. If Charles has a tough time running between the tackles, expect that hamstring injury to be tested in the passing game.
2. Donald Stephenson, RT. Rookie Eric Fisher is out with a concussion. He has struggled this season anyway, so this gives Andy Reid a chance to look at other options in case Fisher isn’t ready next week. Titans DE Derek Morgan has been effective sealing off the right side this season and has added pressure to QBs. While he hasn’t racked up many sacks, he’s more than capable of being a nuisance to Alex Smith. This is a key matchup.
3. Dwayne Bowe, WR. Again, he’s a star so he’s obviously a player to watch. However, he hasn’t been targeted very often by Alex Smith. The two obviously need to work on chemistry, but this week will not help. The Titans have two very good CBs in Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty. Bowe will have to work hard to gain separation and make plays this week. McCourty and Verner are aggressive. It will be interesting to see if Smith is willing to challenge them on a deep ball or two, where Bowe clearly has the advantage.
1. Tyson Jackson/Justin Houston DE/LB. Pick one. Both are having great seasons defending the run and pressuring the QB. Houston has recorded more sacks, but Jackson has done his fair share of block absorption. Titans RT David Stewart is listed as Questionable this week with a calf injury, but is expected to play. Expect these two Chiefs to have a monster game.
2. Eric Berry, SS. The Titans are starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had success against the Chiefs in Week 2 last season. Eric Berry hasn’t forgotten that game, be sure. With such a strong front seven, be sure Berry will be roaming the field looking to disrupt any short slant passes Fitzpatrick likes to use.
3. Sean Smith, CB. The Titans have multiple WRs capable of making big plays. However, Smith has the size to win one-on-one match-ups. Fitzpatrick likes the short slant passes to bait aggressive corners and safeties…then he chucks it deep. Smith has to be solid in man coverage this week and force the Titans to lean on the inconsistent Chris Johnson.
Prediction: Chiefs 27 Titans 24.