coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/30/2013 04:28 PM in NFL

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans: Preview and Pick

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans: Preview and Pick

The schedule for week five will feature a game that centers on two very surprising teams in the NFL this season. The Kansas City Chiefs are 4-0 this season and are looking like playoff contenders. The same could be said for their opponent, the Tennessee Titans. Both of these teams are off big victories and will look to continue the impressive run when they take to the field this week.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Chiefs listed as (-2.5) point favorites. Now that the public is buying into Andy Reid and the Chiefs the early wagering is coming in on Kansas City as over 70 percent of the early wagers are n the road team. With the overwhelming amount coming in on Kansas City, the line has moved and can now be found at (-3) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Chiefs pounded the winless New York Giants 31-7 on Sunday, it's obvious that importing a cool, savvy quarterback from San Francisco and bringing in a smart, no-nonsense coach from Philadelphia also had a lot to do with a rags-to-riches transformation. With Reid and Alex Smith the Chiefs may be turned around. A win against the Titans would only cement that fact.

Tennessee's average starting field position was the Titans' 37-yard line, its best in a game this season. The Chiefs lead the league with an average starting field position of their own 37-yard line. Three of Tennessee's six first-half drives started in Jets' territory, all of which resulted in touchdowns, and helped the Titans jump out to a 24-6 halftime lead. An injury to Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker could be a big problem as they go up against the Chiefs this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick will take over if Locker cannot go.
The latest NFL betting odds show that the home team may have the edge in this matchup.

Tennessee is 6-3 straight up in its last 9 games when playing at home against Kansas City, but they are just 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in that time span. Kansas City is 4-12-1 straight up in its last 17 games, but this is a different team from a year ago. The total has gone under in 5 of Kansas City's last 6 games on the road and the total has gone OVER in 5 of Tennessee's last 6 games when playing Kansas City.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/01/2013 03:09 PM

The Chiefs became the second team in NFL history to start a season 4-0 following a season with at least 14 losses and the turnaround has been remarkable.

Nevertheless, watching the improvement from the outside is one thing. It takes on a different meaning from those within who endured tough times in recent seasons, such as punter Dustin Colquitt, who joined the Chiefs in 2005.

"It's been exciting just to see the change, the rapid change at that," Colquitt said in the Chiefs locker room following Sunday's game. "We had a few years there where it was tough to watch, tough to go into work, tough for a lot of things. But a lot of the core players here, they hung tight."

The last time the Chiefs were 4-0 came a decade ago in 2003.

Colquitt was among many Chiefs players in good spirits in the locker room. There were plenty of smiles because the players know securing victories in the NFL, much less being undefeated through four games, proves no simple task. The last time the Chiefs were 4-0 came a decade ago in 2003.

But when considering what the 2013 Chiefs are about, it starts with coach Andy Reid.

"We knew we had good players here," Colquitt said. "We just had to find a spark and I think this coaching staff really came in here and provided that."

Safety Kendrick Lewis, who joined the Chiefs in 2010, said the team is building something special and he appreciates the feeling.

"It's an unbelievable thing," Lewis said. "After coming from a struggling year, for us to bounce back like that, it shows volumes to our locker room, our fans, to everybody in the community and this organization the change was good."

Second-year offensive lineman Donald Stephenson, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., grew up watching the Chiefs and knows first-hand how the community feels about the team. He believes the team earned the right to be undefeated on the heels of a tumultuous 2012 campaign.

"If anybody deserves to be 4-0 right now, it's the Chiefs," Stephenson said. "We went through a lot last year - the fan base went through a lot over the years - so just to see the fans happy is huge."

Still, there's more to the team's winning streak than just deserving it. From a good coaching staff to team chemistry, successful teams throughout NFL history have common traits.

Prior to joining the Chiefs during the offseason, backup quarterback Chase Daniel experienced a winning formula from his years with the New Orleans Saints. Daniel said he sees a shared ingredient with the Chiefs that he observed in New Orleans.

"Guys are hungry to win," Daniel said. "The team has really come together these last four weeks. There's a reason we're 4-0."

Meanwhile, Colquitt said the current run has a magical feel to it, but added it's also attributed to the hard work the team has learned under the new regime.

"There's a reason we're 4-0."

"Andy (Reid) runs a really tight ship and for that matter, all the coaches do," Colquitt said. "We've got 9-to-5s now. It's one of those things and it's paying off. We're not winning by a Hail Mary at the end of the half in Chicago. We're going out and playing football hard, we're trading punch-for-punch and last-man-standing kind of football."

Second-year running back Cyrus Gray echoed Colquitt's thought on the effort the team puts in on a daily basis.

"If people got a chance to see how we actually bond together as a team, how we work together as a team, they would understand why we're playing this well," Gray said. "I just give praises to coach Reid. He put together a great staff and also great teammates, and it's all falling into place."

While the Chiefs were a puzzle in recent years, the feeling in the locker room following Sunday's win reflected many of the pieces are figured out. Of course, there's plenty of football to be played with just a quarter of the season in the rear view mirror. But the building blocks are in place for a Chiefs team striving to accomplish what has proven an attainable goal through four games.

"The coaching, the environment, the atmosphere, it's us, unselfishly, each player playing for each other, competing for each other to accomplish one thing," Lewis said. "The one common goal is to win as a team and that's the one thing this locker room has had since OTAs (organized team activities) and all through training camp. We all put our pride to the side, the unselfish way, and came together."

In the meantime, an undefeated NFL team in Kansas City enjoys a four-game high.

And Gray's one-word answer to an inquiry on his first thought upon hearing 4-0 should have virtually all fans beaming with pride.

"Chiefs," Gray replied

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/01/2013 03:10 PM

The Tennessee Titans got a diagnosis on Jake Locker's right hip injury Tuesday and said the starting quarterback avoided major damage and has a sprain that shouldn't keep him out too long.

Locker suffered the sprained hip and a sprained MCL in his right knee on a third-quarter combination hit from the New York Jets' Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples.

"We received reassuring reports from the second MRI today and they confirmed that there was no major damage to Jake Locker's hip joint -- it is classified as a sprained hip," the Titans said in a statement.

"The area will need time to heal and strengthen, but he won't require surgery and he has already begun a rehab routine for both his hip and knee. We certainly would expect him to miss a few weeks, but we are encouraged by the news today."

The 3-1 Titans play the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. They are at Seattle on Oct. 13 and host San Francisco on Oct. 20. The Titans have a bye the following week. Perhaps Locker will return when they resume play on Nov. 3 at St. Louis.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will start while Locker is out. The Titans haven't yet made a decision on Fitzpatrick's backup. They could promote Rusty Smith from the practice squad. They were slated to work out David Carr and John Skelton Tuesday.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/02/2013 02:14 PM

You could make a comparison that the Chiefs’ offense so far has been the Mariano Rivera of football.

While the Chiefs’ defense has garnered the majority of the headlines during the team’s 4-0 start, the offense has mimicked Rivera, the future Hall of Fame baseball closer. The Chiefs have protected second-half leads of 10 points or fewer in each of their last three games with crucial, time-killing scoring drives.

That includes the Chiefs’ 31-7 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, despite the misleading final score. The Chiefs led 17-7 early in the fourth quarter and effectively put the game away with a 14-play, 90-yard scoring drive that chewed nine minutes and 17 seconds off the clock.

“That score was a little crazy; that really doesn’t tell you the full story,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “All the way to that fourth quarter, that was a battle. The guys maintained their presence and played at a high level.”

In particular, the Chiefs’ running game — which has been a bit hot and cold this season — stepped up against the Giants, as Jamaal Charles gained 49 of his 65 rushing yards on that key drive, which ended with a 2-yard touchdown catch by Charles from quarterback Alex Smith.

“We’re executing better I think, and we’re running the ball better in the fourth quarter,” Smith said. “That’s been consistent the last three weeks, moving the line … I think it really opens up some stuff outside.”

The Giants game, however, isn’t the only time the Chiefs’ offense has closed out an opponent. Consider the following:

• Against the Eagles on Sept. 19, the Chiefs padded a four-point halftime lead with two Ryan Succop field goals and an eight-play, 62-yard drive that was capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Charles during the second half of a 26-16 victory.

• Against Dallas, the Chiefs got the ball back holding a tenuous 17-16 lead with 3:50 seconds left and mounted an eight play, 38-yard drive in which they gained four first downs and only left the Cowboys 16 seconds on the clock.

In all, the Chiefs’ offense has committed only one turnover and outscored opponents 34-16 in the second halves of their four victories this season, which isn’t bad for a team that won just two games last season.

“I don’t even remember last year,” said Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has scored two of the offense’s four second-half touchdowns this season. “We’re doing so good right now. This team is totally in — the coaches, the players. It’s all family right now.”

Reid said his team began laying the foundation for strong finishes in the offseason, when it employed a training regimen that has allowed his players to stay sharp in the fourth quarter, almost like a vintage Rivera cutter.

“That’s a tribute to the players and (head strength and conditioning coach) Barry Rubin and (assistant strength and conditioning coach) Travis (Crittenden) for the job in the weight room getting these guys conditioned so that they can push through,” Reid said. “(Assistant strength and conditioning coach) Brent Salazar, too. (They’re) training these guys and getting them right so that they can push through situations like this, so that they’re able to do this. (Trainer) Rick (Burkholder) was busy, too, making sure that everybody was hydrated and ready to roll.”

Reid essentially said the key is giving players all the tools they need to let their competitive side take over when it matters most.

“It’s the players and their want to do those things and to listen to those guys and train themselves right,” Reid said. “Then they maintain that focus and that confidence … into the fourth quarter so you know you have some juice left, especially in a hard-fought game.”

Smith said what Reid described was certainly the case against the Giants.

“The energy level was really high there, and it has been the last three weeks in the fourth quarter,” Smith said. “I get pretty jacked up, especially as we’re moving the ball … when we’re in the huddle you can feel it, a lot of energy.”

Much of that energy is positive, too, unlike last year. Perhaps that’s why Bowe and the rest of his teammates are so eager to let the past be the past.

“We try not to even think about last year,” Bowe said. “Every day we go day-by-day. Right now we’re 4-0 and the target is on our back … we have to keep pushing.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/02/2013 02:17 PM

Much like society's demand for instant information and access, the NFL has shifted to a win now or else league. Long gone are the days of the decade-plus tenures at the head coaching position. The Jeff Fisher and Bill Cowher long term command positions aren't going to happen without sustained success. One or two bad seasons, and you're gone.

A good part of the reason for this is because certain teams have shown it can be done. The best example is the recent Super Bowl Champions the Baltimore Ravens.

After a 5-11 2007 season, the Baltimore Ravens let go of head coach Brian Billick and hired the first of the now famous Harbaugh brothers, John Harbaugh.

In 2008 we all remember the Ravens made it into the playoffs as a wild card and an 11-5 record with rookie QB Joe Flacco. They beat the Titans at home in the divisional round and went on to lose the AFC Champonship to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A very impressive turnaround from worst to first.

They took a small step backwards in 2009 and barely made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but still managed to beat New England in the wild card round before losing the the Colts the next week.

The Ravens haven't looked back since and have made the playoffs every year since Harbaugh and Flacco took over, recently winning the Super Bowl. They are the paradigm franchise of a quick turnaround AND sustained success.

Not every story ends this way however.

Every year for the past decade at least one team has gone from last place in their division to winning it outright.

•2003- Panthers and Chiefs
•2004- Falcons and Chargers
•2005- Bears and Giants
•2006- Eagles, Saints and Ravens
•2007- Buccaneers
•2008- Dolphins
•2009- Saints
•2010- Chiefs
•2011- Broncos
•2012- Redskins

The New Orleans Saints are the only team on this list that made it to a Super Bowl after the teams rapid jump in success. This obviously doesn't show the entire picture. Just because you weren't in last place in your division, doesn't mean you're not in need of, or privy to, a quick turnaround.

In 2009 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired new head coach Raheem Morris and after one poor year, jumped the Bucs into a 10-6 season. Unfortunately they fell just as quickly to 4-12 the following year, which ended his tenure.

The 2008 Dolphins jumped from worst to first under new head coach Tony Sparano and had an 11-5 record, knocking New England out of the way. The following year they took a large step back and finished 7-9 and continued the trend through 2010. Sparano was let go in 2011 as the team hit the 4-9 mark with 3 games left to play.

The Chiefs suffered a similar fate as head coach Todd Haley took a 2-14 Chiefs team, to 4-12, and then winning the division the following year. The step backwards in 2011 didn't sit well though as he was dismissed with three games left in the season at 5-8. Romeo Crennel went 2-1 in his last two games as interim head coach, but only won 2 games the entire next season and has since been replaced by Andy Reid.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/03/2013 01:46 PM

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s job description is different as he takes over for Jake Locker as Titans starting quarterback.

His mindset, however, is simple.

“Go and win this game, that’s the biggest thing right now,” Fitzpatrick said on Wednesday. “That’s what I am putting my focus into.”

The ninth-year pro was a full-time starter for 3½ seasons with the Bills before signing a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Titans on March 26. With Locker out indefinitely with a hip injury, Fitzpatrick is the starter beginning with Sunday’s game against the undefeated Chiefs at LP Field.

Fitzpatrick was 3-of-8 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown against the Jets after Locker went down in the third quarter. Now he’s spending extra time with coaches and receivers to make sure everyone is on the same page.

“My role is completely different than last Wednesday, and the reason being is this was Jake’s team and this was Jake’s offense,” Fitzpatrick said. “I have to go out there and let (the receivers) know what I expect because if you are not on the same page, then that is what leads to the miscommunications and things that can’t happen.”

Fitzpatrick seemed loose and had a few one-liners, including a joke about his speed (“I am usually running out of fear. Those guys are big”) along with a shot at practice squad quarterback Rusty Smith’s facial hair (“It’s terrible. … He kind of looks like the Fighting Irish mascot from Notre Dame.”)

He did make one thing clear: he’ll be ready to play on Sunday.

“It’s unfortunate I have to step in due to an injury, but I am excited about it,” Fitzpatrick said. “As a player, it is hard for me after playing lot of football the last 3-4 years, to have to sit back and go into the back-up role again. It was something I fully accepted… Jake and I have a good thing going, but for me, I want to play.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/04/2013 01:25 PM

While the Kansas City Chiefs try to remain undefeated, the Tennessee Titans hope an injury to their starting quarterback won't derail the team's strong start.

The Chiefs look to go 5-0 for the first time in 10 years Sunday when they visit a Titans team trying for its first three-game winning streak in two seasons.

After enduring the overall frustration of a franchise-worst 2-14 season in 2012, Kansas City is only focused on trying to maintain its best start since going 9-0 in 2003.

"We try not to even think about last year," receiver Dwayne Bowe said. "Every day we go day-by-day, and right now we're 4-0 and the target is on our back, and we have to keep pushing."

There are plenty of reasons why the Chiefs only should look forward. A win Sunday would make Kansas City the first team to win its first five games the season after winning two or fewer contests.

"The team is totally in, the coaches, the players," Bowe said. "It's all a family right now. We're a family organization. On all three sides of the ball we're doing good."

Kansas City has scored 26 or more points in three of four contests after doing so twice in 2012.

Despite throwing his first two interceptions of the season, Alex Smith threw three of his seven touchdowns in last Sunday's 31-7 rout of the New York Giants. With a victory this weekend, Smith would join Mike Livingston as the only quarterbacks to win their first five starts with the Chiefs.

Running back Jamaal Charles has overcome a quad injury and some recent foot problems to rank third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 125.5 per game.

"He wants the ball, which you appreciate," coach Andy Reid said. "I really appreciated it after I saw his feet and the blisters on them (last Sunday). The kid is a tough kid. He likes to play."

Reid, however, is uncertain if No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher will be healthy enough to take the field at right tackle after suffering a concussion against the Giants.

Defensively, the Chiefs allow a league-best 10.3 points per contest and have recorded an NFL-high 18 sacks.

Dustin Colquitt leads the league with 15 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line, and should be ready after he sprained his knee last weekend.

"We come out here and try to perfect our craft every single day and every practice," tight end Sean McGrath told the Chiefs' official website. "We just want to be as prepared as we can to face an opponent the next week."

Kansas City expects to face a serious challenge in Nashville, where the Titans (3-1) have won four in a row and will try to win three straight overall for the first time since Sept. 18-Oct. 2, 2011.

Tennessee will attempt to do so without quarterback Jake Locker, who, according to coach Mike Munchak, will miss a "few weeks" after suffering a sprained hip in the third quarter of last Sunday's 38-13 win over the New York Jets.

The third-year signal-caller, who missed five games with a shoulder injury during Tennessee's 6-10 season of 2012, completed 62.2 percent of his passes, threw six touchdowns, no interceptions and posted the AFC's third-best passer rating of 99.0 though four games.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who posted three straight 3,000-yard seasons in Buffalo, gets the start after he went 3 of 8 for 108 yards and a TD against the Jets.

"I was brought here for a reason, and the reason I was brought here was to help Jake out and be ready for a situation like this if it came up," said Fitzpatrick, who has thrown eight touchdowns and two picks while going 4-1 against the Chiefs.

He could have Kenny Britt back in the mix after the receiver missed last Sunday's contest with a rib injury.

With Fitzpatrick at the helm, the Titans have a chance to become the first team in the Super Bowl era to go the first five games of a season without committing a turnover. Tennessee and Kansas City are tied for the NFL lead in turnover differential at plus-9.

"It's discipline by the team," Munchak told the Titans' official website. "It's important to them. We work on it everyday. Hopefully it continues."

A Tennessee defense that is allowing 17.2 points per game (seventh in the league) and has recorded 14 sacks hopes for a better effort than the last time these teams met.

Bowe had 153 receiving yards and a TD and Charles amassed 117 total yards and scored twice in Kansas City's 34-14 home win over the Titans in 2010.

Britt had four receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown in that contest.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/05/2013 09:40 AM

First overall pick Eric Fisher will miss a game for the first time since the Chiefs drafted him because of a concussion. Tight end Travis Kelce (knee) is also out and tight end Anthony Fasano (knee, ankle) is questionable after missing last week’s game. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), who also missed Week Four, is also questionable.

You’ve likely heard that Titans quarterback Jake Locker (hip, knee) will miss the game, but running back Shonn Greene (knee) and defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill (ankle) are also out for Tennessee. Linebacker Patrick Bailey (hamstring), defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (shoulder), tackle David Stewart (calf) and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring) are all questionable.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/06/2013 08:18 AM

Pick: Titans +3
The Titans are still not getting the credit they deserve but they will after beating the Chiefs.