The Kansas City Chiefs will look to start the second half of their season strong vs the Titans on Sunday Night Football. Both teams are fighting for playoff positioning in the AFC, and this game will feature two of the best coaches in the NFL.
Joe Thuney and Trey Smith vs Jeffrey Simmons
Jeffrey Simmons is one of the best interior defensive linemen in football, and he had some choice words about the Chiefs’ offensive line earlier this week.
A high-level player like Simmons has earned the right to talk, but his comments should provide both Joe Thuney and Trey Smith with extra motivation this week.
With 5.5 sacks this season Simmons is on an All-Pro trajectory for this season, and he is the anchor of a highly underrated defensive unit in Tennesee. The Titans are also one of the best run defenses in the NFL due to Simmons being able to control double teams on the line of scrimmage. In their last three games, the Titans have only given up 50 yards per game on the ground. Every great defense starts up front, and Simmons is the man the Chiefs will have to beat if they want to control the trenches and win the game.
Chiefs Run Defense vs Derrick Henry
With questions about Ryan Tannehill’s health and Malik Wilis looking to make just his second start, it is no secret what the Titans will try to do to move the ball on Kansas City. A familiar foe who has given the Chiefs issues in the past, Derrick Henry enters this week off of a monster game just a week ago. 219 yards on 32 carries, Henry dominated the Texans for four quarters. A two-touchdown day for Henry, helped him climb to third in the NFL in rushing yards, and will more than likely signify the start of the Titans feeding him in a high volume. The Cheifs run defense started the season well but has struggled the last three games, allowing nearly 127 yards per game on the ground.
The Titans will try to feed Henry early and often, and he provides them with their best chance to win the game. The Chiefs will need to play heavy boxes and will prob end up with base looks that will involve Nick Bolton, Willie Gay, and Leo Chenal. They need to be able to stop Henry before he gets going. Corraling the big man around the line of scrimmage and gang tackling is the best way to keep him under control.
Andy Reid vs Mike Vrabel
The game will also feature a marquee coaching matchup between Andy Reid and Mike Vrabel. With a record of 45-26, Vrabel has coached the Titans to three consecutive playoff appearances, and they are in a position to win the AFC South again with a 5-2 record. Since taking over as the head coach of Kansas City in 2013 Andy Reid has gone an astounding 108-44, with all nine years resulting in a winning record, eight playoff appearances, and one Super Bowl title.
This clash will feature the old guard of coaching combined with the new school. Vrabel comes from the Bellichick tree, but his ability to relate with players and use his own experience as an All-Pro linebacker has made him the ultimate players coach across the league. He has built one of the league’s best defensive units and is a master at making adjustments as games go on. Two of the best minds in football will be engaged in a chess match that could decide the game.