Playing for the AFC Championship on Sunday will be the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Titans will be playing their third straight playoff road game after defeating the Patriots and Ravens. The Chiefs are coming off one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history over the Houston Texans.
On A Roll
The Titans have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the playoffs this season with their big upsets in the first two rounds. After taking down the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round, they traveled to Baltimore and upset the top-seeded Ravens, who were one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season.
The story of the postseason for the Titans has been running back Derrick Henry. After finishing the regular season with the most rushing yards in the league, Henry has gone on a historic playoff run and kept opposing offenses off the field by totaling 377 yards in the first two games against excellent defenses.
Perhaps the guy most responsible for the Titans’ turnaround this season is quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In his first year with the team, Tannehill got the starting job after the Titans’ slow start to the season.
Since taking over the role, Tannehill has the best QBR in the NFL. He has thrown for 2,742 yards this season with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Tannehill’s primary target this season has been wide receiver A.J. Brown. Brown has gone under the radar, but he managed to reel in 52 receptions for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns.
While the Titans primarily rely on Henry on offense, look for Brown to have a handful of breakout plays against this Chiefs defense.
The Titans have been averaging 25.1 points per game while their defense has held teams to 12.5 a game. The key for the Titans once again will be their running game.
They have been rushing for 138.9 yards per game this season, while the Chiefs are allowing an average of 94 yards on the ground per game.
Airing It Out
The Chiefs are almost exact opposites of the Titans. While the Titans are based around their run game on offense and their strong defense to slow games down, the Chiefs are a speedy team with a weaker defense. They rely more on high scoring to come away with wins.
Their offense is based around superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The young signal-caller has thrown for 4,031 yards with 26 touchdowns and five interceptions.
He gives the Chiefs the ability to score very quickly. Mahomes proved this by throwing four touchdowns in one quarter in the Chiefs’ comeback last week against the Texans.
The Chiefs’ primary weapon this season has been their tight end Travis Kelce. Not only does he get the job done blocking in the run game, but he has 97 catches this season for 1,229 yards and five touchdowns.
The Chiefs’ defense will have to do what no other playoff team has done so far this season, which is stopping Henry. While the Chiefs can score very fast, the Titans do an excellent job of staying on the field and keeping opposing offenses on the bench.
What To Expect
While the Chiefs are a seven-point favorite, I am going to take the Titans for another upset. Tennessee should be able to run the ball well against the Chiefs defense, and I do trust Tannehill to make the throws he needs to when Kansas City loads the box.
Kansas City will still make plays and score, but the Titans may be the most complete team in the playoffs.