Sunday preview: Titans at Chiefs

Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:58pm

TENNESSEE TITANS (6-8) at  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-5)

Noon (CST), Sunday

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City

TV: CBS (Comcast, Ch. 5) Radio: WGFX-FM 104.5

  About the Titans:
• They have had a negative turnover margin in seven of their eight defeats, including five straight. Dating back to last season, they have lost seven straight road games when they committed more turnovers than they forced.

• Wide receiver Kenny Britt leads the team with seven touchdown receptions, already the most by a Titans’ player since Drew Bennett (11) in 2004. He has not scored since Oct 24 against Philadelphia, when he did so three times and capped a stretch of five straight games with at least one. At that time, he  was the league leader.

• Rookie Marc Mariani averages 14.6 yards on 22 punt returns and 25.7 yards on 51 kickoff returns. He has returned one punt and one kickoff for touchdowns.

• Their average time of possession in the first quarter is six minutes, worst in the league. They also rank last in overall time of possession at 25:49.

About the Chiefs:
• They have committed 10 turnovers in their 14 games, only New England (nine) has committed fewer. They are fifth in the NFL for turnover differential at plus-10.

• Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe leads the NFL with 14 touchdown receptions. He has not scored since Nov. 28 against Seattle, when he did so three times and completed a stretch of seven straight games with at least one.

• Rookie Dexter McCluster averages 15.5 yards on 13 punt returns and 20 yards on 20 kickoff returns. He has returned one punt for a touchdown.

• They are 15th in the NFL in average time of possession at 30:50. They have outscored their opponents in every quarter except the first, when they’ve given up 57 and allowed 38.

Something to consider:
• The Chiefs have held opponents to 14 points or fewer seven times, tied with Pittsburgh for the most in the league. Tennessee has been held to 14 or fewer three times.

• The Titans are the only team with a losing record and a positive point differential (plus-40). Kansas City has outscored its opponents by 41.

• Tennessee needs a victory and losses by Indianapolis and Jacksonville to stay alive in the playoff hunt. Kansas City can clinch the AFC West title and a playoff berth with a victory and a San Diego defeat.

Prediction:
The Titans will carry momentum from the last six quarters into this game, score early and force the Chiefs to play catch-up.

With the advantage, Tennessee will rely heavily on Chris Johnson and its short passing game in an attempt to control the clock. Eventually, though, the Chiefs will settle in before their home crowd and take the lead.

The Titans have not had a game decided by a Rob Bironas field goal all season, but this looks like it could be the one. Expect Kerry Collins to get them in position for a game-winning kick either in the final seconds or on the last play of the game.

Bironas makes it, Titans win but see their playoff hopes die as the Jaguars and/or Colts also win.

Titans 19, Chiefs 17