Game Predictions & Player Projections - TEN vs. KC

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: TEN 20, KC 27

(Line: KC by 8, O/U = 44)

UPDATE: DeMarco Murray is out for this game. Albert Wilson is listed as questionable but had a limited practice and is expected to play.

The 9-7 Titans grabbed a wildcard thanks to a win over the Jaguars but are only 3-5 on the road. The 10-6 Chiefs are 6-2 at home and on a four-game winning streak. If there is an upset this weekend, this game is likely the better bet since both teams have played unevenly this year.

Tennessee Titans

1 OAK 16-26 10 CIN 24-20
2 @JAC 37-16 11 @PIT 17-40
3 SEA 33-27 12 @IND 20-16
4 @HOU 14-57 13 HOU 24-13
5 @MIA 10-16 14 @ARI 7-12
6 IND 36-22 15 @SF 23-25
7 @CLE 12-9 16 LAR 23-27
8 BYE xxx 17 JAC 15-10
9 BAL 23-20      
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN@KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Marcus Mariota 10 240,1
RB Derrick Henry 70,1 1-10
WR Eric Decker 4-50
WR Rishard Matthews 5-60,1
WR Corey Davis 3-30
TE Delanie Walker 6-70
PK Ryan Succop FG XP

Pregame Notes: There is speculation that HC Mike Mularkey may be coaching his final game if the Titans lose this week. While the defense varies between acceptable and surprisingly good, the offense struggled this year in all facets. What was expected to be a big year for Marcus Mariota ended up to be his worst. The Titans rank in the bottom five for quarterback, running back and wide receiver this year with the same players other than an upgrade with the best wideout in the draft. It will take a big showing here to get the win and advance. And without that, the Titans are all but sure to make changes.

QUARTERBACK : Marcus Mariota only managed a career-worst 13 passing touchdowns and 3,232 yards. He turned in more than one score in just three games and never more than two. Two of his last five games failed to produce any scores. He threw 15 interceptions in an offense that could never get on track when passing.

RUNNING BACK : DeMarco Murray was held out last week because of his knee and started this week unable to participate. I will assume he sits and update as needed. Derrick Henry was held to only 51 yards on 28 carries last week versus the Jaguars though he scored a 66-yard touchdown on his only catch in that game. Henry's workload obviously goes up without Murray and he has topped 100 yards twice as a runner - both at home. Murray has been a disappointment this year with only 3.6 yards per carry and half the yardage of 2016. Henry has been the best rusher with 4.2 yards per carry and responded well in the seven games where he was allowed more than ten carries.

WIDE RECEIVER : Maybe the biggest disappointment was Corey Davis selected with the 1.05 pick in the draft. The rookie still has not scored a touchdown and was held below 50 yards in all but one game since the season opener. Davis caught a season-best six passes for 91 yards in Week 16 but then followed that up with his first catch-less game.

Rishard Matthews is the more reliable and productive receiver with four touchdowns and three games of 80+ yards. But even he was not above a bad week and his 795 yards and four scores lagged 2016 when he turned in 945 yards and nine scores in his first year with the Titans. Eric Decker added little to the effort with only one score and most games under 40 yards.

TIGHT END : Even Delanie Walker declined this year with only three touchdowns and under 50 yards in each of the last four games. But Walker gained over 60 yards in six different weeks and is still one of the top receivers each week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Chiefs play much better at home where no visitor passed fore more than one score since Week 4. The Chiefs rank poorly in passing and with wide receivers but that is mostly in road games. They only allowed three touchdowns to wideouts in the last six home games. But passing is where the Titans have to succeed.

The Chiefs have only allowed four touchdowns to a visiting running back and only Le'Veon Bell was successful there. He was the only 100-yard rusher allowed all year. Henry can gain moderate yardage and there is a chance for one score but he's unlikely to have a big game and still may end up sharing with Murray.

Walker faces one of the better defenses versus tight ends though oddly the three scores given up to the position were all at home. This should be one of those games where Walker is needed to step up.

The three wideouts face a secondary that has been much better at home. If a score ends up with a wide receiver, it would almost have to be Matthews since all others have combined for only two scores on the year.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 27 27 27 7 9 21
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 25 7 31 6 7 3

Kansas City Chiefs

1 @NE 42-27 10 BYE xxx
2 PHI 27-20 11 @NYG 9-12 OT
3 @LAC 24-10 12 BUF 10-16
4 WAS 29-20 13 @NYJ 31-38
5 @HOU 42-34 14 OAK 26-15
6 PIT 13-19 15 LAC 30-13
7 @OAK 30-31 16 MIA 29-13
8 DEN 29-19 17 @DEN 27-24
9 @DAL 17-28      
News | Statistics | Roster
KC vs.TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith - 270,2
RB Kareem Hunt 80,1 5-50
WR Tyreek Hill 5-90,1
WR Albert Wilson 2-20
TE Travis Kelce 7-80,1
PK Harrison Butter 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs won their last four games though all were versus non-playoff teams and the lone road venue was beating the Broncos by a field goal last week. The Chiefs defense has been much better in home games and have never allowed more than 20 points there this year.The Chiefs offense started the year red-hot and cooled significantly midseason. But all the pieces are working again and playing at home they will be hard to beat. Next week on the road will be entirely different.

QUARTERBACK : Alex Smith started the year with a bang and followed that up with several impressive games before cooling off around Week 8. He's only had one big game since and scored just four touchdowns total over his last four home games. Smith's production spikes only when Tyreek Hill has a big day.

RUNNING BACK : Akeem Hunt was placed onto injured reserve because of his ankle and Charcandrick West was out with the flu last week. But Kareem Hunt was able to end his rookie season with the most rushing yards in the NFL this year. Hunt was cooled off for about six weeks during midseason but scored in each of the last four games and has been good for well over 100 total yards in the last three home games. Hunt ended the regular season with 1,327 rushing yards and a 4.9 yard per carry average. He added 53 receptions for 455 yards and totaled 11 touchdowns.

WIDE RECEIVER : De'Anthony Thomas was lost to a broken leg last week but had a minimal role anyway. In fact, only Tyreek Hill matters. He ended with 75 catches for 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns with four 100-yard games. Hill should be a lock for 75 yards in a home game unless facing a top defense. Albert Wilson blew up for 147 yards last week when the Chiefs were resting players but normally remains under around 40 yards in most weeks.

TIGHT END : Travis Kelce actually declined slightly from 2016 but still caught 83 passes for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns. He's a lock for eight or more targets and topped 100 yards in four games.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Titans have been most good against the pass but have faced a very weak slate of opponents When facing a good passing offense, they will give up two to four touchdowns and allowed 280+ passing yards in six games. They rank below average against tight ends and yet rarely faced any of the top tight ends. Expect a big game here from Kelce and Hill both. The Titans secondary is only as well ranked because of that slate of weak opponents. The Chiefs at home will have success with the pass.

Kareem Hunt is back to top form and a home game should be a good spot for a big effort, especially after resting last week. The Titans have only allowed Todd Gurley to run for more than 100 yards on them but Hunt will deliver as a receiver as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points KC 4 10 22 2 2 11
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 21 11 23 20 31 21

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