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Titans vs Chiefs: Keys to victory

After suffering a disappointing defeat to San Diego, the Titans (7-6) will be looking to revert back to their winning ways against the Chiefs (4-9) on Sunday. With only three games remaining and currently one game behind the Browns for the AFC’s final playoff spot, Tennessee must begin to salvage a surprisingly sub-par second half of the season as they attempt to remain afloat in the race for the postseason.
The Titans will be facing a Kansas City squad that has struggled mightily as of late. After entering their bye week with a 4-3 record, the Chiefs have lost six games in a row. That’s a far cry from last season, when the Chiefs were able to slip into the postseason with a victory over the Jaguars and a seemingly improbable string of losses suffered by their fellow AFC wildcard contenders on the season’s frenetic final day.
The Titans’ backs are up against the wall as they attempt to remain in contention for the conference’s final playoff spot. For the Titans to pick up a victory and continue to be a part of the AFC wildcard race, the following objectives should be accomplished:
Continue visitors’ newfound success at Arrowhead
Prior to this year, Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium had been the site of one of the NFL’s dominant home-field advantages. From 2002-2006, Arrowhead served as a consistent source of frustration for visiting teams. During that timeframe, the Chiefs were 31-9 playing at home, including a 6-2 record last year. 
The 2007 campaign has been a different story. After defeating the Bengals 27-20 in week 6, the Chiefs have lost their last four games at home. The Chiefs are currently 2-5 at home, which ensures their first losing season at Arrowhead since their 3-5 mark during the 2001 season.
Despite the Chiefs’ struggles, Arrowhead is still potentially a tough place for visitors to win. The Titans will need to add to the Chiefs’ frustration at home by getting on the scoreboard early and keeping Kansas City’s raucous fans from being a deciding factor in this contest.
Maintain red zone efficiency
Converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns has surprisingly been a Titans’ strength in recent games. In their 28-20 victory over the Texans, the Titans were able to score touchdowns on all three of their trips to the red zone. Failing to score touchdowns in the red zone was also not a problem against the Chargers last week, as the Titans were able to cross the goal line twice in three attempts inside the Chargers’ twenty.
The Chiefs’ defense is extremely stingy in the red zone. Herman Edwards’ defense is currently ranked #1 in the NFL in defensive red zone efficiency. In 33 attempts, opposing teams have only scored 13 touchdowns against the Chiefs in the red zone. The Titans will need to continue their recent success inside the opposition’s twenty-yard line against a Kansas City defense that is reluctant to yield touchdowns in the red zone.
Win the third down battle
The Titan defense will be facing a Kansas City offense that is amongst the league’s worst at moving the chains on third down. The Chiefs have only converted nearly one-third (32%) of their third-down attempts, which is tied for the league’s second worst third-down conversion rate.
Tennessee’s defense is currently the league’s 16th ranked unit on third downs, yielding first downs to their opponents 40% of the time (75 out of 185 attempts). A fatigued Titan defense enabled the Chargers to roar back and steal a win last week, so preventing the Chiefs from converting third downs will be critical to preserving a well-rested defense on Sunday.