In a rematch of a playoff game from two seasons ago, the Kansas City Chiefs hit the road in Week 10 to take on the Tennessee Titans. The game will kick off at 1:00 EST on Sunday, November 10 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. A majority of the country will be able to watch this game on CBS.
Current betting odds list the Chiefs as 6-point favorites on the road with an over/under of 48 points. Be sure to check out all of this week’s NFL betting odds.
The Chiefs appear to have survived the injury to Patrick Mahomes. The reigning MVP is on track to play this week after sitting out the last two weeks. Kansas City scored a home win over the Vikings last week, making them 1-1 with Matt Moore as the starting quarterback. Of course, the Chiefs also lost back-to-back games right before Mahomes suffered a knee injury, so they are not without flaws even if their starting quarterback returns.
After last week’s win, the Chiefs are 6-3, which only puts them a game ahead of the 5-4 Raiders in the AFC West. Kansas City’s hold on the AFC West could be in jeopardy with a loss this week, especially with some tricky games down the stretch. The Raiders are close enough in the standings to put a little bit of pressure on the Chiefs to keep winning.
Tennessee, meanwhile, is facing increased pressure every week to win. The Titans won back-to-back games after anointing Ryan Tannehill as the new starting quarterback, only to lose to the Panthers last week. That loss dropped them to 4-5 on the season, two games behind the Texans, who sit atop the AFC South standings.
With seven games left in the regular season, time is running out for Tennessee to make a move. They play four of their final seven games against their AFC South rivals, including two games with the Texans. That gives Tennessee plenty of opportunities to work their way up the standings. However, the Titans also play six of their last seven games against teams that currently have a winning record. They’ll have to win difficult games in order to make the playoffs, which makes winning at home vital to their playoff hopes.
The assumption from most is that Mahomes returning means the Chiefs will be clicking on all cylinders. But the Chiefs are going on the road against a team that has had all four of its home games decided by seven points or less. It may not be that easy. Also, with or without Mahomes, Kansas City is 2-3 in their last five games. The Chiefs will probably win, but I think the Titans will beat the spread.
Keep in mind that the Titans have only allowed more than 20 points twice this season. In fairness, those games have come the last two weeks, so the Tennessee defense is in a bit of a slump. But the Chiefs don’t have a running back like Christian McCaffrey who can dominate a defense on the ground, as was the case for Tennessee last week.
The good news for Kansas City is that Damien Williams finally got it going last week and could become the go-to running back ahead of LeSean McCoy. However, the Kansas City rushing attack has been so inconsistent this season that I’m not convinced that one good game is going to turn the tide. The inability to run the ball consistently has held the Chiefs back this season, and it could become a problem against a solid Tennessee defense.
I also question whether Mahomes will have the same mobility upon his return. Remember, he was already dealing with a bum ankle before the knee injury, so it’s worth wondering if he can move like he usually does. Moore was sacked eight times in his limited action. The Kansas City offensive line has flaws that Mahomes can usually cover-up. The Titans have a good enough pass rush to get after Mahomes and sack him a few times if he’s unable to run away from pressure.
On the other side of the ball, the Titans have scored at least 20 points in all three games that Tannehill has started. They got away from the running game last week, but Derrick Henry is likely to be featured heavily this week. The Chiefs are one of the worst in the NFL at defending the run, so Henry could have a big game if he gets 20-plus carries. That should take some of the pressure off Tannehill, who has posted good numbers as a starter despite throwing three interceptions over his three starts.
Ultimately, I think the Tennessee defense and running game can do enough to keep the Titans within striking distance. Remember, the Chiefs are not without flaws, and the Titans have a team that can expose some of Kansas City’s weaknesses. Plus, even if he’s turnover prone, Tannehill gives Tennessee a viable downfield passing threat, so falling behind isn’t the end of the world, especially against the Kansas City defense. Even if Mahomes returns, a road game against the Titans is harder than most people realize, which is why I don’t see the Chiefs covering the spread this week.