For the Kansas City Chiefs Week 7 game against the San Francisco 49ers, the AP staff and our readers saw the game roughly the same way: the most common view was that Kansas City would win a close game. A few in both groups thought the 49ers would prevail — and a few foresaw a blowout — but even fewer predicted the 44-23 beating Kansas City gave San Francisco; the staff’s aggregate prediction of a 29-22 Chiefs win was way too conservative.
In Week 9, the Chiefs face the Tennessee Titans for Sunday Night Football on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored by 13.5 points.
Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
Price Carter (@priceacarter)
Looking back at last season’s loss to the Titans, it might have been the low point of the Patrick Mahomes era. Since that game, the Chiefs have been through an incredible amount of change — most of it for the better. With its new wide receiver corps, Kansas City has found a way to make its offense more diverse and effective. As long as the Chiefs aren’t turning over the ball, I can’t see the Tennessee secondary holding them back. Defensively, the game begins and ends with Derrick Henry. If Malik Willis starts, expect tons of pressure from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. While Ryan Tannehill is limited as a passer, he certainly presents more of a threat than Willis does. I just don’t see a situation where the Titans can score enough to keep up with Kansas City. Only the Chiefs can hold themselves back. If they play a clean game, they should be in control by the second half.
Chiefs 28, Titans 14
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
I’m working on the basis that the Titans will have Ryan Tannehill available to them. Unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t see this being an easy game. Despite their excellent primetime record, when do we see the Chiefs blow teams out at home under the lights? Hardly ever. That factor — paired with Kansas City’s torrid record against Tennessee — has me thinking that this will be a single-score game.
Chiefs 30, Titans 27
Nate Christensen (@natech32)
If this was a normal week, I’d feel differently about this game. The Titans’ strengths counteract the Chiefs’ strengths in a lot of ways. They’re definitely the more disciplined and physical team — which has hurt Kansas City in the past. Still, it’s Andy Reid after a bye — and I don’t think this Tennessee team can score enough points to keep up with Kansas City.
Chiefs 27, Titans 17
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel has certainly turned his team into one of Andy Reid’s most formidable opponents, so I can’t bring myself to accept the huge point spread the oddsmakers have put out there; I’m a lot more comfortable with something like the eight-point margin that FiveThirtyEight is predicting. But as tough as the Titans have been against the Chiefs in recent years, they’ve played a really easy schedule to arrive at 5-2; I have little doubt that Kansas City will emerge with a victory.
Chiefs 27, Titans 20
Maurice Elston (@recenickelz)
Everyone knows Andy Reid’s record after a bye is great — but we also know that during his Kansas City tenure, he has struggled to beat the Titans. Still, I don’t think the Chiefs will struggle at all. They will come out the gate fast, forcing Tennessee to abandon its running game. The Titans just do not have the quarterback (or wide receivers) to keep pace with the Kansas City in a shootout. The Chiefs win this game, taking control of the AFC’s No. 2 seed.
Chiefs 35, Titans 17
Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)
For a while now, the Titans have been the proverbial thorn in the Chiefs’ side. Andy Reid is just 2-5 against the Tennessee since he took over the team. While Reid has a knack for claiming wins after the bye (he’s 20-3 all-time following an off week), the Titans have won five in a row — and running back Derrick Henry has eclipsed 100 yards in four straight games (and collected five touchdowns). When the teams played last season, Kansas City held Henry to 86 rushing yards (and three yards per carry), but Tennesee won 27-3. With each team leading its division — and hoping to keep momentum on its side — this is all a recipe for chippiness in this contest.
Chiefs 34, Titans 24
Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)
We all know about Andy Reid’s breathtaking record off a bye — but this game is deeper than that. Last year, the Chiefs played the worst game of the Patrick Mahomes era, losing to the Titans 27-3. That loss is still on their mind, so expect a very locked-in team on Sunday night. No matter if it’s Ryan Tannehill or Malik Willis starting under center, Tennessee’s identity is Derrick Henry. Kansas City will sell out against the run, daring the Titans to win through the air. I don’t think that will go over well, so I fully expect the Chiefs to run away with this one. That’s a reason they’re double-digit favorites.
Chiefs 38, Titans 13
Zach Gunter (@ZachGunter08)
Can one really doubt the Andy Reid bye-week trend? I mean, 20-3 all-time immediately after the bye. That said, I’m not confident in the 13.5-point spread. It seems to be a trap game — especially with one Derrick Henry on the Titans. Malik Willis is set to play again, which gives me hope. But I feel like this game will be closer than Vegas assumes.
Chiefs 27, Titans 21
Conner Helm (@ArrowheadConner)
I think Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are tired of losing to the Titans in the regular season. Tennessee is really banged up — while coming off the bye, the Chiefs are as healthy as they’ve been all season. Derrick Henry will get his, but it won’t be nearly enough to keep up with the NFL’s No. 1 offense. The Chiefs win big.
Chiefs 31, Titans 17
Ashley Justice-Paur (@Justice_Paur88)
The Titans have been one of those teams that have just had the Chiefs’ number in recent years. (Have we forgotten Marcus Mariota’s pass to himself?) As impossible as it may seem, even Patrick Mahomes is 0-2 against the Titans during the regular season. But the past is the past. The excitement surrounding the return of rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie — and the added motivation of Jeffery Simmons’ recent disparaging remarks about Kansas City’s offensive line — will help right the course of this history. It certainly won’t be a shutout — and the Titans will probably even score early in the game. Fantasy owners will still be happy with the day Derrick Henry will have. But I do predict a win on Sunday. Andy Reid’s post-bye week record will continue to be amazing.
Chiefs 31, Titans 27
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
This game is a battle of two trends: Andy Reid has a very good record coming out of the bye week, but the Titans have beaten the Chiefs in four straight regular-season games — all in the Reid era. I see Tennessee coming out and establishing an initial lead, but Kansas City eventually recovers — and pours it on. I predict rookie running back Isiah Pacheco will have the most-impactful performance of his young career.
Chiefs 31, Titans 20
Aaron Ladd (aaronladd0)
Happy Andy-Reid-Off-The-Bye Week to all those who celebrate it! Kansas City’s fearless leader has true prowess after some extra rest. And what an eventful bye week it was for Kansas City, including the addition of speedy wideout Kadarius Toney and the (temporary) subtraction of veteran edge rusher Frank Clark. Kansas City’s Week 9 opponent has long been a difficult matchup, beating Kansas City in five of seven previous games. This time feels different.
Chiefs 35, Titans 21
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
Here is an unpopular opinion: I think Derrick Henry is one of the most overrated players in the history of the NFL. His success is due to poor tackling. Just look at him. He has tiny legs. Those are a running back's engine — and Henry is the engine of the Titans' offense. If you want to stop Tennessee, just tackle Henry anywhere from the hips down. If the Chiefs' defense can commit to doing that, I think they shut down this paper king and cruise to an easy win; there is no way the Titans can keep up with the Kansas City offense. I’m also not buying the smokescreen that the Chiefs are going to slowly work in Kadarius Toney. He may only get a few looks, but he is going to have at least one big play in this game — and I predict that it will go for a touchdown.
Chiefs 38, Titans 28
Ricko Mendoza (@ricko_mendoza_)
Coming out of their bye week, the Chiefs enter this game well-rested and relatively healthy Andy Reid is dominant in games following the bye — while Kansas City’s high-power passing offense led by Patrick Mahomes should be able to put up points against a Tennessee defense that struggles more against the pass than they do against the run. The key for this game, however, will be containing Titans running back Derrick Henry, who is fresh off 219 yards and two touchdowns against the Houston Texans in Week 8. Tennessee has few weapons outside of Henry, so the Chiefs should be able to win this one — as long as they contain Henry, thereby preventing the Titans from controlling the clock.
Chiefs 34, Titans 13
Stan Nelson (@chiefsfanstan)
Well, this sure has been the year for unpredictability, hasn’t it? Just when we think the Chiefs have figured it out, they win a close game — or lose one — only to storm back the next week and light up one of the league’s best defenses. But that very unpredictability is the strength of Kansas City’s offense after Tyreek Hill’s departure: it is nearly impossible to figure out which skill-position player is going to shine from week to week. That has opposing defensive coordinators burning the midnight oil trying to figure out how to plan for the Chiefs’ offense. Tennessee always matches up well against Kansas City, but I just cannot pick against an Andy Reid Chiefs team coming off the bye with the offense humming — not to mention the fans surrounding GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs 38, Titans 27
Tom Ruprecht (@truprecht)
Well, I’m very happy Jeffery Simmons is yapping about “dominating” the Chiefs' offensive line. Mocking the line certainly worked wonders for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right? I do worry, however, about the possibility that Derrick Henry will dominate the Kansas City defensive line. I think Henry keeps it close — despite another big night from Patrick Mahomes. I don’t know where Ryan Tannehill is with his ankle injury, but I think the Chiefs win either way — as long as Kadarius Toney doesn’t fumble a punt near his own end zone. Right there, he’ll be worth the draft picks.
Chiefs 31, Titans 24
Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)
I think it might only be me, but I think the Chiefs' defense is a tad bit underrated this season. With prominent tacklers in the linebacking corps, I feel like Kansas City will slow down Tennessee’s run-first offense. Granted: King Henry will get his yards — but it won’t be enough to beat the Chiefs.
Chiefs 24, Titans 17
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
Many of the accolades the Titans are receiving this week — especially how good their defense has been on third down — likely reflect the very soft schedule they have faced since their 41-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. Derrick Henry continues to be a threat — but he is no longer complemented by a passing game boasting elite weapons. The Titans will be quarterbacked by either an injured Ryan Tannehill or rookie Malik Willis — who looked far from ready for the NFL while playing the Texans in Week 8. The Tennessee defensive line is no joke — but Kansas City has managed to scheme around equally good (or better) fronts. Patrick Mahomes should find ample opportunities against a soft secondary, preventing the Titans from leaning too hard on their running game.
Chiefs 31, Titans 20
Nick Schwerdt (@nick_schwerdt)
Every little nuance in this game points in Kansas City’s direction. I’m sure everyone in the Chiefs’ locker room has been reminded of what happened when these two teams faced off in last season’s Week 7. Andy Reid is 20-3 in his career coming off the bye week. Patrick Mahomes is nearly unstoppable in primetime games. Trent McDuffie returns to bolster the secondary. It’s tough to imagine the Chiefs won’t be up to the task.
Chiefs 34, Titans 16
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
It’s true the Titans have given the Chiefs plenty of issues in the past — including last year's dominating 27-3 victory over Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes made it pretty clear this week that he remembers last year's loss very well. Tennessee might be on a five-game winning streak, but I don’t see where they’ll get the boost they’ll need to truly compete with the Chiefs. Kansas City is well rested (and prepared) off the bye — which is just another layer to the team dominating on Sunday night. I don’t think this one is close — and I think Mahomes is ready to put it on the Titans.
Chiefs 41, Titans 10
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
Given how the Kansas City offense played against the 49ers and the Buccaneers, there isn’t much concern about any matchup presented by an opposing defense. When executing properly, the Chiefs’ offense will put up points. This matchup centers around the Chiefs’ defense and its ability to get stops. Look for this team to be motivated to stop Derrick Henry. In fact, they’ve shown that they can do so. In the last two meetings, Kansas City has held Henry to around three yards per carry and under 100 yards rushing. In the past, Ryan Tannehill has been able to capitalize on the Henry focus and make plays. But he’s questionable this week. The Chiefs' defense will be missing Frank Clark, but the return of Trent McDuffie could help keep the Titans one-dimensional. This game could be closer than many think — but Kansas City is the superior team; Tennessee won’t be able to keep up with Mahomes and his receivers.
Chiefs 28, Titans 15
Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)
Prior to hearing Tennessee defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons say that he expects the Titans to “dominate” the Kansas City offensive line, I was prepared to pick the Titans to stay within the 13.5-point spread. The last time a defensive lineman went down that path, it did not work out well for his team (see Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Oh — and Patrick Mahomes is visibly eager to get his own payback after the Titans handed him what was perhaps the worst game of his NFL career last season.
Chiefs 34, Titans 17
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
Having a game-time decision at quarterback when you’re up against Patrick Mahomes is not ideal for the Titans. Deciding to talk about an offensive line that put up its best game of the season after someone else talked is not ideal for the Titans. Facing Andy Reid after the bye (20-3) is not ideal for the Titans. The Chiefs roll into the second half: against Ryan Tannehill, they win by 10; against the rookie, they cover 13.5.
Chiefs 30, Titans 20
Dakota Watson (@dwatson_56)
The Titans are one of my least favorite teams to see on the schedule. They have given the Chiefs plenty of problems over the past few seasons. With Derrick Henry coming off one of his best games — and the Titans on a five-game winning streak — there is some (minor) cause for concern. There are, however, just too many things favoring Kansas City to pick against them. Andy Reid is phenomenal coming off the bye, the Tennessee offense is too reliant on Henry, the addition of Kadarius Toney will surely help on special teams and Ryan Tannehill is not 100%. The Chiefs should win this game — because the Titans simply won’t be able to keep up.
Chiefs 38, Titans 24
Which team wins Titans (5-2) at Chiefs (5-2)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
Titans in a close game
Titans in an easy win
Titans in a blowout
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Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
Maurice Elston’s call for a 41-17 Chiefs victory was Week 7’s most accurate prediction, carrying 12 points of error — and fueled this week’s biggest upward swing in the standings. Ashley Justice and Matt Stagner’s 37-21 and 38-24 prognostications were close behind with 14 points of error.