Debbie Downer’s Week 1 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans Preview


Surprisingly enough this preview won’t exactly be the pessimistic “the Chiefs are in trouble” article you might think this is going to be. However, this is going to be a much tougher game than it should be.

In 2013, the 4-0 Chiefs ran into a solid 3-1 Tennessee Titans team and came out on top 26-17 to secure 5-0 for the first time since 2003. The Chiefs defense held Tennessee to 17 points, Marcus Cooper recovered a fumble in the endzone for a touchdown, Alex Smith went 20 for 39 with 245 yards and a touchdown, and Jamaal Charles ran for 108 yards and a touchdown. I expect this game to go much less smoothly, but nonetheless I expect a Kansas City Chiefs victory.

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Predicting each division winner for the 2023 NFL season
Predicting each division winner for the 2023 NFL season /

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  • The Kansas City Chiefs need a couple things to go their way if they are to win this game. I think my number one concern is the emergence of Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter. Hunter is 6’4 203 pounds. The only defensive back on our team that comes close to covering a specimen like Hunter is Sean Smith who measures in at 6’3, 218 pounds.

    The problem here is that we know Smith has limitations when it comes to covering guys without interfering, holding, or getting called for illegal contact. Surprisingly I didn’t see as many of these calls last night in the season opener as I did in the preseason. Smith is physical and will need to find a way to cover Justin Hunter without giving up a big play or a penalty that could keep the Chiefs defense on the field longer than they want to be.

    Last year Hunter was a rookie and had zero receptions against the Chiefs, but the Chiefs will also have to contend with the likes of crafty veteran receiver Nate Washington and Kendall Wright, both of whom had solid games against Kansas City with current Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm.

    My second biggest concern is obviously going to be how the offensive line protects Alex Smith. I know that Tennessee just gave their best defensive end Jurrell Casey a four year contract extension worth $36 Million. Casey is coming off a 10.5 sack campaign in 2013. ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky wrote a short piece on which Casey gave his opinion on Eric Fisher.

    Casey said:

    "“From what I’ve seen on film, he’s a pretty good player. He’s someone who’s going to give me a run for my money out there, especially with me going into another scheme and things like that.”"

    This will be the matchup that matters more than any other in the trenches. Fisher had an absolutely dreadful preseason and is coming off shoulder surgery. If Fisher can hold his own, I think Alex Smith will have time to run this offense the way it needs to be run.

    My other concern is something normally considered minuscule, but could end up being the demise of the Chiefs if it doesn’t go as it should and that’s the kicking game. The Chiefs’ rookie kicker Cairo Santos could very well be the deciding factor in this game. It will be interesting to see considering Ryan Succop will be in a Tennessee Titans jersey. Santos will have to have a similar rookie season to Succop, a season in which Succop won the Mack Lee Hill award for most outstanding rookie on the Chiefs, to justify the release of Succop.

    Santos hopefully will show the skills this season that earned him the 2012 Lou Groza award as the best placekicker in college football. The Chiefs will also have to game plan AGAINST Dexter McCluster who was one of the most electrifying players on special teams in the NFL last year.

    This game will be a hard fought battle to the very end. The Kansas City Chiefs need to do what made them a 9-o team last year and that is play defense and win the turnover battle. They must also blanket Tennessee’s receivers and shut down their pass rush. I am predicting a Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Titans, 27-23.