The NFL’s version of the final four takes place this weekend, and we have a pair of fantastic games to look forward to. The spreads may be high for both the AFC and NFC Championship games, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance of the underdogs making some noise.
The first game on the docket will see the Tennessee Titans hit the road to take on the Chiefs. The Titans have surprised a lot of folks with a playoff run that has seen them pick up road upsets over the Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, the Chiefs stumbled out of the gates at home last weekend versus the Houston Texans, but they managed to get it together and blow the doors off of the visitors.
The stage is set for an intriguing showdown between a team that not many expected to make it this far and one of the preseason favorites to reach the Super Bowl. Let’s take a look at the matchup in full detail, starting with the way the oddsmakers see it.
Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 3:05 PM EST, Sun. Jan.19, CBS
Betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Titans vs. Chiefs Pick:
The Titans were on the road last Saturday night to take on the Ravens. They walked on the field as massive 10-point underdogs, and the general consensus was that they didn’t have much of a chance. That assessment would prove to be wildly off the mark. Tennessee controlled the game from the onset and put forth a dominant performance, walking away with a 28-12 win.
The Chiefs opened up the postseason on Sunday at home versus the Texans. The game time line had them as 10-point favorites, but the game would open up in decidedly different fashion. Houston roared out to a 24-0 lead, and it was looking like another postseason disappointment for Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes had different ideas and led a furious comeback as the Chiefs prevailed by a score of 51-31.
|Kansas City||12-4||451||308||1-AFC West||W6|
Tennessee opened up the year with a big road upset victory over the Cleveland Browns, but that would serve as the highpoint for a bit. The Titans struggled to a mark of 2-4, and the keys to the offense were handed from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill along the way. That would prove to be a prescient call. The club got it together and finished up at 9-7 to snag a Wild Card berth.
Kansas City entered the year with big expectations on their shoulders. After a 4-0 start, it was looking like they would live up to the hype. However, the team would hit a rough patch as Mahomes battled injury and missed some starts. After a 2-4 stretch, the Chiefs managed to right the ship. They would close out the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning their last six games in a row.
In a nutshell, the Chiefs are the stronger offensive squad, while we can give the nod to the Titans on offense. That said, the Tennessee offense has been quite impressive while Derrick Henry has been running over everything in his path. The Kansas City defense improved tremendously down the stretch, but they took a big step backwards in the beginning of last week’s game with the Texans.
Tannehill was steady during the regular season, and he’s having a quiet but efficient postseason. Henry has been the engine that’s making the offense goes, but Tannehill has chipped in with three TD tosses versus one pick. Henry has racked up 377 rushing yards and a score through two playoff games. He’s averaging a ridiculous 5.9 yards per carry. Logan Ryan is among the standouts on defense.
Mahomes missed time this season, so he wasn’t able to match his monstrous 2018 campaign on a statistical basis. Last week versus the Texans, he exploded and threw for five TDs. Damien Williams found the end zone three times in the victory, while Travis Kelce dropped a line of 10/134/3. The defense got it back together after a tough start. Frank Clark was among those who led the way with three sacks.
Kansas City leads the all-time series with the Titans franchise by a margin of 29-24. The teams hooked up earlier this season in Tennessee, a 35-32 victory for the hosts.
On an all-time basis in the postseason, the Titans are 17-20 overall and 1-4 in title games. The record includes the franchise’s time as the Houston Oilers. The club’s last trip to the AFC Championship game came in 2002, a 41-24 road loss to the Oakland Raiders.
The Chiefs are 11-19 all-time in the playoffs and 2-2 in Conference Championship games. The team lost last year’s AFC title game at home to the Patriots in overtime. Prior to that, the clubs last made it this far in 1994, losing on the road to the Buffalo Bills by a score of 30-13.
For the season to date, Tennessee is 10-7-1 against the spread and 10-8 on the Over/Under. Kansas City is 11-5-1 ATS and 9-8 on totals.
Since 2017, the Titans are 7-7 straight-up in the role of road underdog and 8-6 ATS. Kansas City is 19-7 overall as a home favorite over that span and 15-10-1 ATS.
Oddsmakers aren’t giving the Titans much of a chance here, but it was the same story for the first two rounds of the playoffs. They were 5-point dogs to the Patriots and exited New England with a 20-13 win. Tennessee turned the same trick in Baltimore last week in even more impressive fashion, winning 28-12 as 10-point dogs.
As demonstrated by the massive comeback versus the Texans, this Chiefs offense can be downright deadly. That said, the fact that they found themselves in a 24-0 hole at home in a postseason game which they had extra time to prepare for is alarming. The Chiefs played with fire last weekend and were fortunate to get the victory.
Add it all up, and this game is closer than the line suggests. The Chiefs don’t exactly have a stellar postseason history, and this Titans squad is red-hot. Tennessee plus the points is the call, and an outright win is certainly possible.