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Don’t buy into recent success for Titans’ defense continuing in Kansas City

The Houston Texans went up 24-0 on the Kansas City Chiefs with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter of their Divisional Round matchup. It was shocking — a gut punch to the Arrowhead faithful. Teams simply don’t come back from 24-point deficits with ease, much less in 10 minutes of game time. And yet, the Chiefs entered halftime with a 28-24 lead over a stunned Texans team and proceeded to keep their foot on the gas en route to a 20-point victory. That is the danger of playing the Chiefs. Their penchant for Golden State Warriors-like offensive avalanches — the Warriors teams of past years, that is — makes them hard to put away. More than any other team in the NFL, you truly feel that the Chiefs can score on any given play.

The Chiefs' opponent in the AFC Championship game, the Tennessee Titans, are coming off two playoff games in which they held the highest-scoring team in the NFL (Baltimore Ravens) and the defending Super Bowl champions (New England Patriots) to 25 combined points. Those performances have many people forgetting that the Titans weren’t a dominant defense over the course of the regular season; they were closer to average. They finished the year ranked 14th in expected points allowed per play, hovering near the middle of the pack.

Over the past two weeks, they’ve made key plays in critical situations, but the Chiefs provide a whole different set of problems that they’ll have to contend with.

The Chiefs won’t run into the teeth of the Titans’ biggest strength

The Ravens were the only team in the NFL that ran on at least half of their plays in the first three quarters of one-score games this season. The Chiefs were all the way at the other end of the spectrum, running on just 30% of those plays, which was the lowest rate in the league. That means that in those more game-script neutral situations, the Ravens were the run-happiest team in the league while the Chiefs were the pass-happiest team in the league.

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