The Tennessee Titans turned in one of Sunday’s most complete performances, thoroughly dominating Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to the surprising tune of 27-3. The Titans were well in control from the opening whistle, jumping out to an astounding and unexpected 27-point lead at the break. The Chiefs never showed signs of life and managed to score just three points in the final two quarters despite being shut out in the first half. It was Tennessee's second impressive victory in the span of a week in front of a rambunctious crowd at Nissan Stadium following Monday night’s impressive win over Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. Stacking such victories over two of the AFC’s presumed elites in back-to-back fashion has the Titans looking like legitimate contenders in the conference.
Tennessee's recent string of performances have them looking like the elite squad many expected them to be in 2021, even if their early-season performances suggested otherwise. Since losing a shocker to the lowly New York Jets in Week 4, the Titans have embarked on a three-game winning streak that remains active heading into their crucial Week 8 divisional contest against the surging Indianapolis Colts. In those three victories, the Titans appear to have figured things out offensively, scoring a whopping 32.6 points per contest. MVP candidate Derrick Henry has been unstoppable and has shown no signs of slowing down. A.J. Brown has finally marked his 2021 arrival after battling hamstring issues throughout the early portion of the season. Brown amassed 224 receiving yards and a touchdown in victories over the Bills and Chiefs. Even Julio Jones has gotten in on the fun. The seven-time Pro Bowler finally appears to be healthy and has played a contributing role in their recent victories. With all of their top dogs healthy and producing to the best of their abilities, Tennessee possesses one of the scariest offenses in the NFL.
For all their offensive prowess, things have been nearly equally as impressive on the defensive side of the ball in recent weeks. Using those same three victories as our sample size, opposing offenses have managed to score just 17.6 points per game. Don't look now, but the Titans appear to have captured a front four capable of aiding their shoddy and oft-injured secondary. Tennessee's defense has blitzed on just 22% of their defensive snaps, which ranks 20th in the current season, via Pro Football Reference. Despite sending extra rushers on such few occasions, they still rank first in pressures generated (84), third in hurries (43), and ninth in sacks (17).
The foursome of Harold Landry, Denico Autry, Jeffery Simmons, and Bud Dupree has been playing quality football as of late, and it's quietly leading to a defensive revelation in Tennessee's front seven. Add in the stellar play of linebacker David Long Jr. and safety Kevin Byard, and you have a defensive unit that features playmakers all over the field. The return of their best cornerback, Kristian Fulton, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, will only help boost a defense that is starting to find its way. Starting inside linebacker Jayon Brown, who serves as their top coverage linebacker, is also due to make his return from injury shortly.
The AFC is tough to sort through, with several teams including the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, and Los Angeles Chargers qualifying as contenders to represent the conference in Super Bowl LVI. The Titans are among those teams.