NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Will Mariota bounce back?**
Mariota had his string of eight straight games with at least two touchdown passes snapped last Sunday in a 6-for-20 performance against the Broncos. He'd posted a passer rating of 100-plus in six of eight games before that 45.4 outing. Mariota usually bounces back with a vengeance after an off game. Will the trend continue? The Titans sure hope so.
Run the ball
The Titans are ranked third in the NFL in rushing offense, led by DeMarco Murray, the NFL's No.2 ranked rusher with 1,135 yards. The Chiefs are ranked 27th in the league in run defense. The Titans would love to run it on a cold day. They'll test the middle of a Kansas City defense that will be without linebacker Derrick Johnson, who suffered an Achilles injury against Oakland last week.
The Titans enter this week's game with a streak of four consecutive games without committing a turnover. The last time they lost a fumble or threw an interception was in San Diego on November 6. The franchise has never gone five straight games without committing a turnover. It's a big key Sunday against a Kansas City team with a plus-11 takeaway/giveaway.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been a beast, especially of late. He's one of just three tight ends in NFL history with 100-plus receiving yards in four straight NFL games, and he has a whopping 70 catches for 916 yards on the season. Kelce is a big-play specialist, with 20 plays of 25 yards or more since 2014. The Titans need to slow him down, and several defenders will be in charge of trying to do it.
Keep Hill from getting away
There's also danger in the form of Chiefs receiver/return man Tyreek Hill, who is the third rookie in NFL history and the first since Gale Sayers in 1965 to have a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown, kickoff return touchdown and punt return touchdown in a single season. Hill is a speedster, and the Titans need to be wary of his playmaking abilities both on defense and on special teams.
Handle the cold
OK, it can't be ignored. Sunday's game is shaping up as the second-coldest game in the "Titans era," behind only the playoff game against New England in 2004. So how will the Titans handle it? The team practiced in cold temperatures in Nashville all week, and that should help. Mariota learned he didn't like the feel of a glove on his throwing hand. But the real test will come during the game, when the temperature might not make it out of the single digits.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the team's all-time series against the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photos)