Mularkey wants Titans to stay 'loose' ahead of playoff game

Kristopher Nichols
January 7, 2018

Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

After a worrying midseason slide, the Chiefs turned their season around to win the AFC West.

"We had a number of chances to get ourselves in, but unfortunately we had to wait until the last one to do it", Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.

"I didn't feel like a workhorse back".

Key stat: The Titans are one of just two playoff teams with a point differential in the negatives. Tennessee visited Kansas City in Week 15 of the 2016 season, overcoming a 17-7 fourth-quarter deficit in rallying for a 19-17 win. The hardest routes to cover for a defensive back is when someone is running across the field away from them and the Titans have some pretty good runners of those routes in Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews. Henry now makes for a strong play at $6,500. We didn't. We've all watched that tape. We are all on the same page as to where we want this to go. "Looks like he's picked it up well. He's got good players around him, too".

The Chiefs have not done well in the playoffs when playing at home either. Expect a very cold Arrowhead Stadium to be rocking on Saturday, and for Marcus Mariota to struggle in his first NFL Playoff start.

"I don't have to harp on that with him".

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FAST FACTS: The Titans are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Kansas City utilized a creative offensive game plan (remember all those shovel passes to Travis Kelce?) and took advantage of catastrophic communication breakdowns in the Patriots' secondary. It's also just the second game in that time which an opposing team has scored more than 13 points. Jackson led Tennessee with 17 passes broken up.

-Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill vs. Titans CB Adoree' Jackson.

Mariota is a talented runner (60 carries for 312 yards, including 10 for 60 last week against the Jags), but the Titans' rushing attack as a whole ranked just 15th in the league in both yards per game and yards per attempt. This means the lead running back duties will once again fall on second-year back Derrick Henry. Starting cornerback Logan Ryan and Da'Norris Searcy both missed practice Wednesday with an illness.

Many still remember how the Steelers beat the Chiefs a year ago at Arrowhead without even scoring a touchdown - six field goals and the Chiefs season sunk.

"I couldn't do it myself", Fournette said. "Everything gets amped up and that won't be any different for this one. I think that adds to the intensity".

Kansas City may have the experience but they also have history working against them. After winning five of their first seven games, the Chiefs proceeded to lose four out of their last five. Smith wouldn't mind seeing that streak come to an end.

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