The Kansas City Chiefs get a shot at redemption. Wait, they get a chance at double redemption!
A year ago, the Chiefs hosted the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game only to let the Super Bowl dream slip away in overtime. With a little better defense and a little less offense than a year ago, head coach Andy Reid and company are right back where they want to be – in the thick of NFL Conference Championship picks.
The Chiefs also get a chance at some payback for a regular season loss to the Titans. Tennessee beat Kansas City in Nashville back on November 10. The Chiefs offense erupted for 530 total yards, but in the end Titans QB Ryan Tannehill tossed a 23-yard TD pass to Adam Humphries with 23 seconds to play for the Tennessee victory.
If you have watched the Titan’s previous two playoff games, you know that any chance of beating the Titans begins with slowing down RB Derrick Henry. He is the key to any Kansas City vs. Tennessee predictions.
Henry has rushed for 377 yards in two playoff games virtually taking over in wins over New England and Baltimore in the NFL Divisional Round.
Both wins were impressive.
The Titans knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion on the road then followed it up with a dominating performance against the AFC’s No. 1 seed and this year’s Super Bowl favorite.
Tennessee will go up against a suspect Kansas City defense. The Chiefs have always been able to put up points, but the defense has been the issue. Reid and company did improve over last season, but the Chiefs finished just 26th versus the run (128.2 ypg) during the regular season. That doesn’t bode well heading into a game against the NFL’s leading rusher.
Last week, the Chiefs spotted Houston 24 points before a Patrick Mahomes touchdown-fest brought the Chiefs back. The Texans totaled 442 yards of offense and 31 points. Mahomes and the Chiefs put up 51.
Does Sunday’s game have the potential to be another offensive shootout? Absolutely, just like the Nov. 10 matchup was.
The Titans may have to call on Tannehill a bit more. He is definitely capable. Tennessee hasn’t needed him as much in the postseason with Henry running wild. Tannehill is only 15-of-29 for 160 yards and three touchdowns combined in the two playoff games.
Looking for an NFC championship prediction?
Tannehill took over as the Titans starting quarterback and started 10 games throwing for 2,742 yards and 22 touchdowns. More importantly, he led Tennessee to a 7-3 record in those final ten games and is now 2-0 in the playoffs.
One of the deciding factors could be Tennessee’s ability to protect the football and it’s penchant for turnovers. Online sportsbooks and bettors alike know the Titans were ninth in the league in turnover margin during the regular season at plus-6. For the postseason, Tennessee is plus-4 having created three turnovers last week against the Ravens.
The Titans are also on fire on third down.
Head coach Mike Vrabel’s team was 18th in the NFL in third-down conversions (38 percent). In the win over the Chiefs in November, the Titans were just 2-of-8 on third down. This postseason however, Tennessee has converted 13-of-25 third down plays. That’s 52 percent.