Week 1 NFL: Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith-chiefs-2014Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Time: 1 PM ET, Sept 7, 2014
Spread: KC -3
Total: 43

Odds c/o of Bovada

The faith in the Tennessee Titans by its fanbase may be at an all-time low. The team has won just 36 of 80 games over the last five seasons and hasn’t won a playoff game in 11 years.

NFL Oddsmakers are not expecting any rapid turnaround in Tennessee, giving the Titans 100/1 odds at a Superbowl title, and 40/1 odds to win the AFC. Starting the season in Kansas City is a bit of a boon given that the Chiefs are not juggernauts either, but even so the Titans are 3-point underdogs according to NFL oddsmakers at Bovada.

Titans QB Jake Locker is in a make or break season. The team declined his fifth year, and he’s missed 14 of 32 starts due to injury. Locker has failed to establish any kind of rhythm as an NFL quarterback, and there are no solid options behind him should he falter. Chris Johnson is also gone from the Titan backfield, and Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey are going to have a lot of slack to pick up.

The receiving corp is strong enough to make Locker look good, though, and Kendall Wright had a phenomenal year last season with 1,079 yards on 94 receptions. The Titans will be an improved team over last season, but it’s been tough to get 68,000 fans to pack it in for continued mediocrity. The defense will be a 3-4 scheme and has a very strong LB group with Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley. Akeem Ayers and Shaun Phillips are strong on the outside.

Kansas City proved to be a surprise team last year with a return to the postseason following 10 regular season wins. The cap strapped Chiefs were only able to build through the draft, but Alex Smith showed many signs of better play throughout the latter half of last season. Over the final six games of the year, he finished with 7.2 yards per pass and a 101.7 passer rating.

Jamaal Charles is still one of the league’s best backs, and he’s got a few more years of top production left in him. He has averaged at least five yards per carry in every season in chi career, and he had a career high 70 receptions last year. The Chiefs have improved depth in the backfield, too. Knile Davis should be ready for a bigger role and De’Anthony Thomas will get opportunities as a fourth round draft pick.

Dwayne Bowe must play far better, though, and he’s really the only Pro Bowl caliber receiver the Chiefs have. It’s tough for Smith to perform his best with so few options to throw the ball to. The Chiefs should return to the playoffs, and disposing of the Titans should be easy, even though the spread is relatively close at 3-points according to oddsmakers at Bovada.

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