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It’s Playoff Time: Titans Set for “Second Season” vs. Chiefs

Posted Jan 2, 2018

The Titans have 18 players on the 53-man roster with playoff experience, and 35 players who have never appeared in a postseason contest. The Titans face the Chiefs on Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The regular season is over. Now, it’s time for the second season in the NFL.

The Titans have plenty of players who’ve experienced playoff football in the past.

“The mindset now is it’s a new season,” said Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who played in Super Bowl XLVIII with the Broncos. “It’s the beginning of a new season for us. You can be proud of your accomplishments and making it in the playoffs, but you have to continue to work hard. We know what we have to do.”

After securing a playoff berth on Sunday with a win over the Jaguars, the Titans will face the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday at 3:35 CST at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs ended the regular season with a 10-6 mark, and with four straight wins. Statistically, Kansas City finished the regular season ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense, and 28th on defense. The Titans (9-7), meanwhile, finished the season 23rd on offense, and 13th on defense.

But none of that matters now, said Titans cornerback Logan Ryan, who won two Super Bowl rings as a member of the New England Patriots.

“It doesn’t matter what you have done, and at this point it doesn’t matter how many years you have been in the league,” Ryan said. “Playoff football is its own game and in a sense it doesn’t matter. I’ve seen Malcolm Butler (from the University of West Alabama) make Super Bowl-winning plays, and it doesn’t matter where you came from. You just have to play well that day.

“Playoff experience is overrated. No one is going to care about what I did last year (with the Patriots). Have a good game plan and have a good game that day and that is all that matters. It’s a new season and we have to go out there and play a good game next week. In the playoffs, it’s win or go home.”

The Titans have 18 players on the 53-man roster with playoff experience, and 35 players who have never appeared in a postseason contest.

Linebacker Erik Walden, a 10-year veteran, has played in the most postseason games (12) during his days with the Dolphins, Packers and Colts. Ryan is next (10 games), followed by defensive lineman Sylvester Williams (7 games), special teams ace Eric Weems (6) and Woodyard (6).

Titans tight end Delanie Walker went to a Super Bowl with the 49ers during the 2012 season. He knows what’s at stake now for the Titans.

And it’s why he didn’t celebrate wildly on Sunday.

“At the end of the day, we got it done, and we got it,” Walker said. “But we can’t dwell on this, because we have a harder team next week we are going to play.

“Just getting in (the playoffs) is not the ultimate goal. I’ve been here before. Now the hard part starts.”

The Titans know they have their work cut out for them against the AFC West champs, who have the NFL’s highest rated quarterback in Alex Smith (104.7 rating), the NFL’s leading rusher in Kareem Hunt (1,327 yards) and a defense known for forcing turnovers.

But they also know this – the last time the Titans played at Kansas City, they won. In was December 18, 2016, when kicker Ryan Succop’s 53-yard field goal won it 19-17.

It’s a new year, and a new season now.

“They have some great weapons on offense and defense so it will be a hard-nosed, hard-fought game,” Woodyard said of the Chiefs. “It will be cold, and it will be in a packed stadium at Arrowhead Stadium, but that is what playoff football is all about.

“We have to be road warriors for these games and we are ready for it.”