On this week’s mailbag/game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we talked about three points on offense and three points on defense to watch in Sunday night’s game.
Return of the Pat
He's back. #ReturnOfThePat pic.twitter.com/DONe1pVh45— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) November 8, 2019
#MVPat is back! Patrick Mahomes will play for the first time since dislocating his kneecap on Thursday Night Football. The Chiefs built some momentum after upsetting the Vikings with Matt Moore at the helm. It’s a good time to appreciate his work the last three weeks. Splitting two games without him was massive, especially with the Raiders winning Thursday night. The Chiefs are getting healthy and ready to make a run in the back half of the season.
With Mahomes returning to the lineup, the focus will be on not letting what has happened already to his ankle and kneecap to repeat or re-aggravate. There has been too many cuts to a limping quarterback on the broadcasts. Things like the pocket collapsing into a planted ankle can’t reoccur. The scheme needs to protect Mahomes a little bit. The Titans have their flaws, but they have some quality pass rushers up front.
We've barely seen a healthy Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, Watkins, Hardman, McCoy, Williams together yet.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) November 4, 2019
The glimpses looked scary. The second half of the season, the plan is to #EstablishtheFun. pic.twitter.com/L2mvAsjZfr
We have been robbed of seeing Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and the running backs all available at the same time. All the skill players are healthy for the first time since the first quarter of the first game of the season.
Andy Reid has a stack of “Pat plays” that he may not have pulled out without Watkins and Hill on the field. It’s finally time.
The MVP is back, and the Chiefs will return to their explosive ways the rest of the way out. They’re back with a vengeance, something to prove and a desire to clinch a first-round playoff bye.
The glimpses we’ve had of a stock cabinet should scare the league. Some middling offenses try to establish the run. The Chiefs are here to #EstablishTheFun.
Stopping Derrick Henry
The Titans offense is pretty unwatchable. They’ve gone through a quarterback change and have some potentially big injuries to offensive players like Corey Davis. The player of most significant concern is running back Derrick Henry.
The former Heisman Trophy winner is one of the bigger running backs in the league. He can be a difficult runner to bring down, especially if you give him a head of steam. There are reasons for optimism with the run defense, but Henry presents another challenge.
Will the defensive line eat again?
The offensive line for the Titans has had its struggles this season. The Chiefs’ defensive line is coming along well and getting healthy. This group his developed into a deep rotation and has been a big part of the turnaround for the defense. Can they continue the success? Chris Jones should play inside and out in a similar role to what he did last week. Derrick Nnadi, Khalen Saunders and Mike Pennell have been stout against the run. If this trend continues, the Chiefs win going away.
Slowing down Derrick Henry
Yes, we meant to put two Derrick Henry references down. The skill players around him aren’t much to write home about. Rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown is coming along, but there’s just not much going for the skill players. Perhaps Jonnu Smith can exploit the coverage weaknesses of the linebackers for the Chiefs, maybe Brown goes off, or Adam Humphries gives them problems in the slot. Simply put, if the Chiefs force this group to drive down the field and they can avoid giving up explosive plays, success will follow.
Arrowhead Pride Laboratory
We went into further detail on these storylines and listed players we’re looking forward to watching on this episode edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory.