The Kansas City Chiefs Week 9 matchup with the Tennessee Titans is a battle of 5-2 teams. Obviously, both teams are in good position thus far this season.
The Chiefs were expected to have a tough battle on their hands in the AFC West this season. The Las Vegas Raiders were a playoff team from a year ago and added Davante Adams. The Los Angeles Chargers were already supremely talented and added Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. Then there is the Denver Broncos who traded for Russell Wilson.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs lost one of the best receivers in the world in Tyreek Hill. It wasn’t supposed to be this easy. Yet, here we are midway through the season and the Chiefs once again sit atop the division. Only the Chargers are even within a game of the Chiefs with Kansas City currently holding the tie-break due to a Week 2 win. The Broncos and Raiders have been flat out pathetic and are 3-5 and 2-5 respectively.
Suffice it to say, the Chiefs find themselves in a good spot coming out of their bye week. This week, they face another strong opponent in the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee is one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winners of five straight after starting 0-2. They are led by one of the league’s most potent ground attacks, with Derrick Henry continuing to look like an All-Pro.
So, let’s get to our Kansas City Chiefs Week 9 predictions against the Tennessee Titans.
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4. Patrick Mahomes throws for 350+ yards
Even without Hill, Mahomes is having a fantastic season. He is fourth in the NFL with 2,159 passing yards. Only Joe Burrow, Tom Brady and Josh Allen have more. But keep in mind, the Chiefs have already had their bye week. Mahomes actually leads the NFL despite that fact with 20 touchdown passes already.
All of the fears that he and the Chiefs offense will come back to Earth have subsided. They lead the league points per game. Most of that has been through the air. This week, they face a Titans secondary that is really struggling this year. They are allowing just over 254 passing yards per game, which ranks 24th in the league.
The Titans run defense has looked much more formidable the last few games. Combine that with the Chiefs’ inability to consistently run the football, and you should get Mahomes slinging it around the yard. Plus, you know he remembers the embarrassing 27-3 loss to the Titans last year.
3. JuJu Smith Schuster has another big game for Chiefs
When the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, people wondered who would take up the mantle of the leading receiver. Mecole Hardman has shown to be talented, but not capable of being a number one guy. So, they went out and got both Marquez Valdes-Scantling as well as JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency. But it’s been the latter that has taken that role.
Smith-Schuster started a bit slow, but that was to be expected on a new team with a new playbook. But over the last two weeks, he has exploded to the tune of 12 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Notice that is almost 20 yards per catch. That was something that Hill specialized in; making big plays after the catch.
Titans safety Amani Hooker is questionable to play with a shoulder injury. He didn’t practice on Wednesday. If he’s unable to go, that is going to put a lot of pressure on the rest of the secondary to somehow slow down Travis Kelce, which should leave JuJu open for big plays.
2. Titans RB Derrick Henry held to under 80 yards rushing
Everyone knows that the Titans offense runs through Derrick Henry. Last week, they only passed the ball five times in the second half as Henry wore down the Houston Texans defense. He ran for a season-high 219 yards in the 17-10 win.
But the fact that they could run all of the Texans, and yet still need to hang on to win by one possession is worth noting.
The Chiefs defense is not great by any means. But they have been far better against the run this year than in years past. They rank third in the NFL, allowing just 92 yards per game on the ground. I expect the Chiefs to be able to move the ball on offense and score early.
That could force Tennessee to abandon the run game. Henry should be held under 80 yards rushing, albeit probably on only 15 or so carries.
1. Chiefs improve to 6-2 with win over Titans
Kansas City knows how important this game is in the AFC. They are currently a game behind the Buffalo Bills, who also owns the tie-breaker on the Chiefs. If they lose this game, they will likely fall two games plus tie-breaker behind Buffalo and will be a game back of the Titans as well.
That would likely significantly hurt the Chiefs chances at a first-round bye and open the door for the Chargers in the AFC West.
There is a reason the Chiefs are double-digit favorites in a battle of two 5-2 teams.