Too soon to start thinking about the playoff picture? Probably depends on whether you’d be in or out.
If the season ended today, the Tennessee Titans would be the No. 3 seed in the AFC as South Division champs. Their opponent on Sunday, the Chiefs, would be on the outside looking in.
That’s a strange place to be for Kansas City, the only team to reach the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons and a two-time Super Bowl participant. Those postseasons included a loss to Tennessee in the 2017 Wild Card round and a victory in the 2019 AFC Championship Game that sent them to Super Bowl LIV in Miami, which they won.
But an NFL-worst 14 turnovers and a leaky defense has left the Chiefs 3-3, one game behind the L.A. Chargers in the AFC West — with the Chargers already owning a victory in the season series — and behind the Bengals, Raiders and Browns as wild card teams.
Perhaps the Chiefs have started their upward mobility. After an awful second quarter in Washington last week, they played their best half of the season, outscoring their hosts 21-0 to win 31-13.
The Titans are also flying high, having defeated the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football, and have the opportunity to knock off both teams from last season’s AFC Championship Game on successive weekends.
With a two-game lead on the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee looks like the team to beat in the AFC South, and winning a division guarantees that team would open the playoffs at home. In the seven-team bracket, only the top seed gets a bye, as the Chiefs did last season.
The Chiefs continue to look up at teams in their division, and they’re 1-3 against the AFC so far. That means a victory on Sunday would be their top achievement to date.
Here are the details about the game and our weekly prediction.
Kickoff: noon (Central)
TV/radio: CBS (Ch. 5), WDAF (106.5 FM)
Line: Chiefs by 4 1/2
Blair Kerkhoff’s prediction: Chiefs 35-31