For Pete's Sake

Five things to know about the Chiefs’ next opponent: Tennessee Titans

The NFL schedule rotation meant games against AFC South foes for the Chiefs this season, and the final of those four contests comes this Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Chiefs will face the Titans, 4-5, who are in last place in the South and coming off a 30-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Each week I take an early look at the Chiefs’ next opponent, and here are five things to know about the Titans, 4-5, ahead of Sunday’s game, which kicks off at noon and will be broadcast on CBS (Ch. 5):

1. Derrick Henry

After holding Vikings star Dalvin Cook to just 71 yards in 12 carries in Sunday’s win, the Chiefs likely will be tasked with stopping Titans running back Derrick Henry. A year ago, Henry ran for 1,059 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.

Although he’s on pace for 1,145 yards rushing this season, Henry’s per carry average is down a full yard to 3.9. He’s already rushed 164 times this season for 644 yards and six touchdowns.

Here is his touchdown run from Sunday:

Tennessee is 18th in the NFL in rushing this season, averaging 100.8 yards per game.

2. Tannehill’s time

Ryan Tannehill replaced the slumping Marcus Mariota as the Titans starting quarterback last month and led Tennessee to a pair of wins before Sunday’s loss to Carolina.

Tannehill has appeared in five games overall this season, completing 84 of 117 passes (71.8 percent) with six touchdowns and four interceptions.

Here is a touchdown pass Tannehill had against the Buccaneers on Oct. 27:

The Titans are 24th in passing (212.9 yards per game) and 14th in passer rating (95.2) in the NFL.

3. Receivers share the load

Five Titans pass catchers have 20 or more receptions this season, with Adam Humphries leading the way with 32 catches. Oddly, Humphries hasn’t scored a touchdown.

Among that quintet, rookie A.J. Brown leads the Titans in receiving yards (429), yards per catch (16.5) and touchdowns (three).

Tight end Jonnu Smith has 18 catches for 257 yards.

4. Top-10 defense

The Titans are seventh in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing 18.3 points per game, and they have the eighth-most sacks (25), one fewer than the Chiefs.

The Titans have been stout on third downs, allowing 34 percent conversions, which is sixth in the NFL.

But Tennessee is tied for the sixth-most first downs allowed (114) via the pass. The Titans passing defense is ranked 17th (236.3 yards per game) and the run defense is 15th (103.1).

5. Succop struggles

Former Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop made his 2019 debut on Sunday, and well, it was dreadful. Succop, who was on injured reserve because of a knee injury suffered in the preseason, missed all three of his field-goal attempts in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. All three were from 40 yards or longer.

The Titans are tied for sixth in the NFL in punting with a net average of 42.8 yards, and Brett Kern has placed a league-best 26 kicks inside the 20.

From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.
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