The improved Tennessee Titans welcome the Chiefs to Nashville, Tenn. What does the next chapter in this rivalry hold?
While the two previous teams on this list featured a prominent rushing attack, the Chiefs will face the NFL’s best running back in week seven. in 2020, running back Derrick Henry led the league in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns.
The Titans win and lose on the ground with Henry and in the pass-heavy era of the NFL, it is refreshing to see a running back go for 2,027 yards. Henry was PFF’s highest-graded running back in 2020, ending the season with a 91.8 grade.
In 2021, the Titans will also feature an aerial attack, led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He has had a quietly good tenure in Nashville, ranking in the top 10 in passing touchdowns and QBR in 2020. The efficiency primarily came behind Henry softening the defense up, but 2021 may be a different story.
The Titans added first-ballot Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones in the offseason. While Jones may not be in his prime form, he is far from a liability. Jones will pair well with emerging wide receiver A.J. Brown, who tied for fifth in the NFL with 11 touchdowns in 2020. Even with the departure of wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith, the Titans can still take advantage of aggressive defenses through the air.
The “weakest” unit on this Titans team is the offensive line. Even that is not a weakness, as the Titans only gave up 25 sacks in 16 2020 games, good for sixth in the league. While this could arguably be due to the run-first mentality, Tennessee still averaged 5.2 yards per carry, second in the league in 2020.
Whether it is passing or rushing, the offensive line is solid and gets the job done.
What about against Kansas City?
The Chiefs have not been perfect against Henry but stepped up when it matters most. During the 2019 regular-season game, the Titans eeked out a 35-32 win. Henry led the offensive charge, with 188 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.
The script was flipped during the 2020 AFC Championship, where Kansas City held Henry to 69 yards rushing and only 3.6 yards per carry. That stifling defense gave the Chiefs a 35-24 win. Look for the Chiefs front seven to make or break this game.