NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** Entering the postseason for the first time in nine years, the Tennessee Titans (9-7) travel this week to face the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) in the Wild Card Round. Kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium (capacity 76,416) is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 6.
This is the third time the two franchises have met in the postseason but the first since the Titans have played in Tennessee. They met on Dec. 12, 1962 in the third AFL Championship Game, a contest won by the then-Dallas Texans in double overtime. On Jan. 16, 1994, Joe Montana quarterbacked the Chiefs to a 28-20 victory over Warren Moon and the Oilers.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN and simulcast on ABC, including Nashville affiliate WKRN News 2. Play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough and analyst Jon Gruden will call the action, while Lisa Salters and Adam Schefter report from the sidelines.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Dave McGinnis, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
Additionally, Westwood One Sports will broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Play-by-play announcer Dan Miller and analyst Trent Green will have the call, with Hub Arkush serving as sideline reporter.
FIRST PLAYOFF BERTH SINCE 2008**
Last week the Titans faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in Nashville, needing a win to secure their Wild Card berth in the six-team AFC playoff field. The Titans prevailed by a final score of 15-10 to earn the fifth seed.
The Titans return to the playoffs this week for the first time since they won the AFC South in 2008. It marks the franchise's 22nd postseason appearance, including seven appearances in the "Titans era" (1999–present).
In a brief period of time, the Titans have gone from having the fewest wins in the NFL and the first pick in the NFL Draft to consecutive 9-7 seasons and a playoff berth. In January 2016, less than a year into her tenure as controlling owner of the franchise, Amy Adams Strunk promoted Mike Mularkey to head coach and hired Jon Robinson as general manager. They took over a roster that finished with three wins in 2015 and transformed it into a playoff contender. The team has its first back-to-back winning seasons since the 2007 and 2008 campaigns.
The team's makeover culminated with last week's home victory. In front of a partisan crowd that braved 23-degree (16 wind chill) kickoff temperatures—making it the coldest Titans game in Nissan Stadium history—the Titans forced four Jaguars turnovers to prevail by a final score of 15-10.
The Titans' lone touchdown came on a screen pass from Marcus Mariota to running back Derrick Henry, which Henry turned into a 66-yard score. Mariota led the team with 60 rushing yards, including a crucial 13-yard run for a first down with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Safety Kevin Byard sealed the win with his second interception of the game and his eighth interception of 2017, which tied for the NFL lead.
The Chiefs enter the postseason with their second consecutive AFC West title. Led by veteran quarterback Alex Smith, the offense ranked fifth overall during the regular season (375.4 yards per game). The unit was seventh in passing (256.5) and ninth in rushing (118.9).
Smith, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, set a career high in 2017 with 4,042 passing yards and led the NFL with a passer rating of 104.7. He is complemented by a group of playmakers that includes rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards; tight end Travis Kelce, whose 83 receptions led all NFL tight ends; and wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who led the team with 1,183 receiving yards and additionally was named to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist.
The Chiefs are in their fifth campaign under the direction of Andy Reid, who is in his 19th NFL season as a head coach. He has a 53-27 record in Kansas City and has led the club to four playoff appearances.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the team's all-time series against the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photos)