The first wild card game of the 2018 NFL playoffs is over and it saw the Tennessee Titans defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 on the road. And while the Chiefs' season ends, the Titans are now on to the divisional round - and as such one of two potential opponents for the New England Patriots, the other being the Buffalo Bills if they defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow.
The contest between seeds number four and five started to look like a Chiefs blowout win early on. The home team jumped to a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and appeared to be in full control even after the Titans scored a field goal to cut their deficit to 11 points. Kansas City just kept cruising en route to a 21-3 halftime lead (coincidentally, also the halftime score of the last playoff game).
Along the way, however, Kansas City lost tight end Travis Kelce to a concussion - and the team's offense slowly started falling apart afterwards. From halftime on, the Titans started to take over the contest. Mike Mularkey's team moved within 11 points after a curious score that saw quarterback Marcus Mariota catch his own pass for a touchdown. On their next possession, the team cut the Chiefs' lead to five.
In the fourth quarter, Tennessee took a 22-21 lead and ultimately was able to stop the home team from re-taking the lead. As a result, the Titans are now one of two potential opponents for the Patriots next week. Considering that Kansas City - at least on paper - presented a tougher matchup for New England, this outcome should be considered the best case scenario for the team.
Of course, things could look very different tomorrow: If the Bills defeat the Jaguars, the divisional round would see a rematch between the AFC East foes. But no matter what happens, the Patriots will face either the fifth or the sixth seed one week from now.