This is a tough place to play quarterback. Smith has handled it better than he’s generally given credit for, and in two years or four years or 10 years he will be remembered much differently in Kansas City.
At least, that’s how I think this will go. Time has a way of washing over annoyances and focusing on the bigger stuff.
Smith has done almost all the bigger stuff well. He is limited, but smart. He is cautious, but efficient. He is reserved, but respected.
The most recent study by the St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2015 found nearly 40,000 fans visited training camp, adding an estimated $6.3 million to the local economy over the course of three weeks.
But that doesn’t mean the Chiefs will require less of Wilson. He’s become an increasingly important part of coach Andy Reid’s offense, a reliable possession receiver and the team’s third target after Kelce and Hill. It’s not a coincidence that the Chiefs lost the three games — Steelers, Cowboys and Giants — that Wilson missed because of injury.
Prediction: Chiefs 20-17
Welcome to playoff football. I expect this to be a tough, physical game that will ultimately be decided by which team makes the fewest mistakes. A big reason for that is because of the way the Titans play under coach Mike Mularkey. There are other playoff teams that would give the Chiefs less trouble than the Titans will, but you guys know my philosophy to picking playoff winners — always pick the team with the best coach-quarterback combination.
But the bulk of the Chiefs’ current 53-man roster has been built over the past couple of seasons. Today’s roster has members who have played for five head coaches and four general managers. More than half were drafted by the Chiefs. Another 20 or so were signed as free agents; the rest came by trades or waiver claims.
The second stat there also bodes well for the Titans. They have only allowed one back to rush for 100 yards this season- Todd Gurley in week 16. You better believe that Andy Reid and his staff has spent a lot of time watching that film this week. Hopefully Dick LeBeau is doing the same thing so they won’t have similar issues.
So, yes, when Moore was asked this question — worst playoff loss in franchise history? — the pause is about his brain processing all the possible answers.
“The one in ’95 or the one in ’97,” he said. “Because you had homefield advantage the whole way.”
That’s true ...
“Probably ’95,” he said. “Because the kicker missed field goals he should’ve made.”
“I give a lot of credit to D.J., man,” said Ragland, who is eighth on the team with 44 combined tackles; Johnson is second with 71. “He’s helped me develop into a player and man off the field, also.”
“I think we’ve been doing a better job stopping the run, but you can never get complacent,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “You can never think you’ve arrived. It’s always making a conscious effort (that) we need to stop the run, stay in your gaps, play great — tough team defense.”
PARKING: The gates will open at 10:30 a.m. Season-ticket members who had purchased season-long parking can buy prepaid parking for $30. All other prepaid parking will be $40 (plus applicable fees), while parking on the day of the game will be $60 cash at the tollgates. There is more information at www.chiefs.com/parking.
“Put Tyreek back there," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said when asked what the Chiefs would do to fill the void. They lost their top two kickoff returners, Akeem Hunt and De'Anthony Thomas, for the season with injuries suffered in last week’s game against the Denver Broncos.
Wyatt: I appreciate you doing this Terez. I’ll keep it short and sweet on a busy week, and get straight to the point. What’s the mood/mindset around the Chiefs heading into the playoffs?
Paylor: I think they have to get past the Wild Card round certainly. But the goal is to get to at least the AFC Championship Game. They have not gotten that far under coach Andy Reid. I think that for this season to be a success, they have to go further than they have in the past, and I think for them it is the AFC Championship Game, although they’ll tell you it’s the Super Bowl.
The Titans have the fourth-ranked run defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 88.8 yards per game, and have done a solid job of pressuring opposing quarterbacks. Their 43 sacks are tied for fifth-most in the NFL. Derrick Morgan (7½) leads four players with at least five sacks. The Chiefs rank among the most generous teams in the league in terms of average yards allowed on the ground and through the air. They have the 28th-ranked defense overall.
One other stat I noticed: the Titans haven’t scored more than 24 points since October. The Chiefs defense hasn’t given up more than 20 at home in over a year.