SportsSports Blogs Local


Chiefs vs. Titans on ABC15: 3 big reasons to watch this playoff showdown

Posted at 11:57 AM, Jan 04, 2018

The 2017-18 NFL playoffs will get underway Saturday with one of the more interesting Wild Card matchups in recent memory.

The 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs, winners of the AFC West division for the second straight season, will host the 9-7 Tennessee Titans in a game that will begin Saturday at 2:35 p.m. on ABC15. Here are three big reasons to tune in to the first game of this year's postseason.

1. The Cardinals' next QB?

Carson Palmer has retired. Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert are about to become free agents. Translation: The Cardinals need to find a quarterback for next year.

Former No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith, who will start at QB for the Chiefs on Saturday, could be that guy. Kansas City drafted Pat Mahomes in the first round of last year's draft to be its QB of the future, meaning the Chiefs could look to trade Smith, whose contract expires after 2018. The Cardinals just might be the perfect trade partner.

Yes, the Cardinals probably need to look for their own QB of the future in the 2018 draft. But a veteran like the 33-year-old Smith, who is having his best-ever NFL season, could be a terrific QB of the present and give the Cards a chance to win right away. AZ fans can get a good look at Smith on Saturday.

2. Back-to-back Heisman winners

It's not often that two former Heisman Trophy winners, let alone back-to-back Heisman winners, play for the same team. But such is the case for the Tennessee Titans this season.

The Titans' starting quarterback is Marcus Mariota, who won the Heisman as a member of the Oregon Ducks in 2014. Their starting running back Saturday will be Derrick Henry, who won the award with Alabama in 2015.

Henry should see an extra helping of playing time Saturday thanks to an injury to fellow running back DeMarco Murray. Both Henry and Mariota will need to have stellar performances in order for the Titans to upset the Chiefs on the road. 

3. Kareem the beast

Along with Smith, the Chiefs feature NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Kareem Hunt. Like Cardinals star running back David Johnson, Hunt was a third-round draft pick -- and like Johnson, he has played like a first-round pick, as he led the NFL in rushing yards this season and was third in the league with a combined 1,782 rushing and receiving yards. 

The Titans have one of the NFL's best rushing defenses, but Hunt has been nearly unstoppable in the last month, accounting for nearly 500 yards and five touchdowns in his last four games. He's just a fun guy to watch, and the Chiefs' success Saturday could hinge on whether he's able to stay hot.