AFC Championship Game Preview: Can the Chiefs Slow Down Derrick Henry?
As we peek at our power rankings, this one is a bit closer than you might think. Kansas City checks in at fourth, while Tennessee isn't too far behind at seventh.
Can Tennessee make it three big wins in a row on the road? Let's find out.
From an efficiency perspective, these are two of the league's best quarterbacks. No really, Ryan Tannehill has been very good so far this year.
Let's not get it twisted -- Patrick Mahomes has been outstanding yet again. Among signal-callers with 150 or more drop backs, Mahomes ranks second in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back (0.31), falling in line only behind the eliminated Lamar Jackson.
But Tannehill has been no scrub, either -- he ranks eighth amongst the same group in terms of Passing NEP per pass (0.23). His low passing volume in the playoffs may lead you to believe he hasn't been all that great, but he's clearly been among the best in the league.
And if you want more of a reason to believe, Tannehill actually bests Mahomes in terms of Average Intended Air Yards (IAY), posting a mark of 9.7 versus Mahomes mark of 8.6
While both quarterbacks have excelled, how do the run games compare?
Running Back Breakdown
Let's not mince words at the start of the running back comparison -- this one is an early-round TKO.
Derrick Henry has been absolutely bananas in the last eight games he's played:
The dude has carried the Titans in the playoffs, and with a heavy workload, he's still been wildly efficient. This season, his 0.07 Rushing NEP per carry ranks him sixth among the 45 running backs with 100 or more carries.
Conversely, Damien Williams hasn't been as effective. Anyone in this KC offense is someone to focus on, but Williams hasn't been anything close to Henry. By comparison, his -0.04 Rushing NEP per carry ranks 29th among the same group.
With Henry going nuts lately, and a 188-yard rushing yard effort against these same Chiefs, how can the two defenses hold up?
These are two very comparable defenses -- Tennessee gets the slight nod in our per-play metrics, ranking 11th, but Kansas City slots in one spot behind them at 12th.
Tennessee ranks 14th against the pass, which KC plans to utilize heavily, but has been better against the run, ranking sixth. The Chiefs meanwhile has been staunch against the pass, clocking in fifth, but they have been very poor against the pass, ranking fifth-worst.
Both teams rank in the top 15 in Adjusted Sack Rate -- the Chiefs rank 10th overall with a mark of 7.6%, and Tennessee ranks 14th overall (7.1%). This could be a huge advantage for Kansas City -- during the regular season, Tennessee's offensive line posted the worst Adjusted Sack Rate (11.2% allowed).
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