The best thing to happen in the NFL this season is arguably the parity of the 2018 NFL playoffs. Yes, the Patriots and Steelers are back at the top but eight of the twelve teams in the postseason this year were on vacation this time last season. One of the more intriguing matchups in the first week Wild Card round is the Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday at 4:20 p.m. ET on ESPN.
This matchup stands out because of the striking similarities between these teams: They are both led by mobile quarterbacks with a strong run game. If Marcus Mariota wants to sustain a long career, he would be wise to emulate Alex Smith’s game. This looks like just the beginning for the Titans, while the Chiefs look to make possibly one last splash before handing the keys over to Patrick Mahomes II, the first quarterback the team has selected in the first round since the 1983 draft.
The Titans will be without starting running back DeMarco Murray due to a torn MCL in his right knee. This would a bigger issue if they didn’t have such a strong tandem with the more than capable Derrick Henry. What makes this Titans offense so explosive is that they always have a fresh pair of legs to dominate the run game, so the difference in this one might rely on Henry sustaining his explosiveness throughout the game. The Titans haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008 so you best believe they’ll be hungry. Motivation and appetite will be no factor.
That same inexperience is where the Chiefs will hold the advantage. The Titans had an awful time slowing Todd Gurley towards the end of the season, helping many fantasy owners to league championships. The Chiefs have an every-bit-as-capable back in Kareem Hunt. If Tennesee’s defense can limit passes to Hunt, they might stand a chance. But the Chiefs experience make them the ultimate favorites in this matchup. They were one of the best teams last season and rode that into this regular season, even surviving a 1-6 skid before rallying to win their division. This team knows how to survive and should do so against the Titans.
Watch Tennessee at Kansas City at 4:20pm ET Saturday on ESPN.
Check out Sling’s full schedule of NFL playoffs here.