Mariota is the third Heisman winner in the last six weeks to confront the Chiefs, who are looking to win the season series against top college honorees after splitting the first two: a victory over Cam Newton and Carolina on Nov. 13 and a loss to Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay a week later.
Newton won the award in 2010 at Auburn; Winston in 2013 at Florida State. And both had productive games against the Chiefs.
The Chiefs are 10-3 and in first place of the NFL’s best division. That is a king’s throne, but then there’s this — they rank 24th in offense, and 27th in defense.
Of the 80 teams to reach a conference championship game in the last 20 years, here is the complete list of those that have ranked similarly on both sides of the ball:
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Nobody’s done it. Not once. That’s going back 20 years, which was so long ago that the Chiefs’ leading rusher was Marcus Allen.
Sure, he played in some cold-weather games at the University of Oregon. And the Titans quarterback got a taste of some chilly temps last season, too. It was 40 degrees – with a wind chill of 33 – last December when the Titans played at Gillette Stadium against the Patriots. This Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium will be a different story, however. "It will probably be the coldest game I've ever played,’’ Mariota said on Wednesday. "But I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a fun atmosphere and can't wait to do it. I’ll be ready."
"They're an aggressive defense, not that ours isn't," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Wednesday. "They've just been able to get more balls. They've got the interceptions they've had. They've been able to score four times with interceptions. They've had a fumble recovery for (a touchdown). They've been more opportunistic. It's not that they're playing any harder or any different than our guys. It's just that they've had things go their way, the ball bounce their way, more than us."
When speaking to reporters about being named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, he talked about how he discovered he was faster than most other kids and the only race he ever lost.
A look at the injuries heading into the Chiefs Week 15 matchup against the Titans
Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey missed Sunday’s game against the Broncos, and right now he’s a question mark for this week’s game against the Chiefs. Casey worked in individual drills on Wednesday, and was listed as limited on the team’s Injury Report. He’s been dealing with a foot injury he suffered against the Bears on November 27.
''That's a tough void to fill, just the years of experience,'' Chiefs safety Eric Berry said. ''Just his presence and his IQ that he's accumulated over the years, just having him out there and understand what the offenses are trying to do - that's a big deal. We'll have to figure something out.''
ESPN's John Clayton does not list Kansas City among the possibilities for Romo.
"I was about 6 years old," said Hill, who is from the small, rural Georgia town of Pearson. "My older cousins took me on this dirt road. There (were), like, wild dogs. It was crazy. I was the youngest. My cousins were, like, 12 and I'm the youngest. So the dogs came and I outran everybody. I was scared, though. I was the first one to make it back to the house."