Then there were four. After 17 weeks of the NFL regular season and two weeks of playoffs, just four teams remain. The sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans take on the second-seeded Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon for the AFC Championship. The evening game is for the NFC Championship and matches up the top two seeds in Green Bay and San Francisco.
AFC Championship: Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Tennessee Titans are surely the surprise team still standing. They also have proven themselves the most over the last two weeks. Tennessee took down New England in the Wild Card Round 20-13 and then they pulled an even bigger upset by taking down the #1 seed Baltimore Ravens (28-12) in the Divisional Round.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been a big part of the Titans success. After a 2-4 start to the season, Tannehill came in and turned this team around. Since he became starter, the Titans 9-3 including the playoffs. The Tennessee pass offense is 21st in yards per game (223.9). However, the biggest reason for this team’s success is running back Derrick Henry. Henry led the league in rushing this season with 1,540 yards. Henry also became the first player in NFL history with three-straight 180+ rushing yard games.
The Titans’ defense has been solid this season. They haven’t jumped off of the stat pages but they are a respectable 12th in points allowed per game. Tennessee also has the eighth-best third-down defense but their biggest concern is stopping the pass as they are 24th in passing yards allowed per game.
Kansas City Chiefs
After a first-round bye, the Kansas City Chiefs had a date with the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round. After the Texans got out to a 24-0 lead, the Chiefs put it in high gear as they managed to outscore the Texans 51-7 throughout the rest of the game. The Chiefs finished the regular season 12-4 thanks to their high-powered offense. Kansas City was 5th in passing yards per game and fifth in points scored per game. The Chiefs were also the best third-down team in the league, converting 47.6% of the time.
Kansas City’s defense has been better of late after some rough outings earlier in the season. They ended up allowing the seventh-fewest points per game this season. Their pass defense has been their strength as they were eighth in passing yards allowed per game. Their weakness has certainly been their rush defense as they allowed the seventh-most rushing yards per game this season.
Spread, Total and Trends
Currently, Kansas City is a 7.5-point favorite. The total is set at a high 53 points. With how good Henry has been running, it is hard to believe the Chiefs 26th-ranked rush defense can stop him. As good as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense is, it will be tough for them to control this game as the Titans will try their best to keep him on the sidelines by moving the ball slowly down the field on offense. After taking down two top teams, the Titans have a legit shot at taking down a third with that rush offense. The spread has been dropping since it opened at 10 points while the total has risen from an opening number of 50.5.
- Tennessee is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games.
- Tennessee is 7-2 SU in their last 9 games.
- Tennessee is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Kansas City.
- Tennessee is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games against Kansas City.
- Tennessee is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on the road.
- Tennessee is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games when playing on the road against Kansas City.
- The total has gone OVER in 9 of Tennessee’s last 12 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kansas City’s last 7 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Kansas City’s last 9 games against Tennessee.
- Kansas City is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games.
- Kansas City is 7-0 SU in their last 7 games.
- Kansas City is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games at home.
NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay Packers
After a 13-3 season, the Green Bay Packers earned a #2 seed and a first-round bye. The Packers managed to take down the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Round 28-23. Now, the Packers have to head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, who they lost to 37-8 back in November.
Green Bay’s offense hasn’t been as good this season as it has been in previous seasons. The Packers were just 18th in the total yards per game and 15th in points scored per game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been solid but not his greatest this season. Rodgers threw for 4002 yards, 26 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Running back Aaron Jones has been one of the biggest reasons for the Packers success this season. Jones ran for over 1,000 yards and had 16 rushing touchdowns.
The Packers defense has had some mixed stats this season but all together, they have been a solid unit. They have allowed the 18th most total yards per game but have struggled against the rush, ranking 23rd. Despite giving up a lot of yards this season, Green Bay has allowed the ninth-fewest points per game thanks to sacks and forced turnovers.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco was one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this season. They were the NFL’s last unbeaten team, reaching 8-0 before losing to Seattle in Week 10 27-24. The 49ers took down the Minnesota Vikings fairly easy in the Divisional Round with a 27-10 victory.
San Francisco’s offense has been surprisingly good this season. They were fourth in the league in total yards per game, 13th in passing and 2nd in rushing. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo compiled a 102 rating this season and helped lead the 49ers to nearly 30 points per game, good for second-best.
The 49ers defense has been a nightmare for opponents all season. Now fully healthy, the San Francisco defense is in its best shape of the season at the right time. San Francisco has allowed the second-fewest total yards per game in the league this season. They have the league’s best pass defense as well, allowing just 169.2 yards per game through the air. The run defense hasn’t been as good, 17th-best, but they were the second-best team at getting off of the field on third down. San Francisco finished the season allowing just 19.4 points per game, good for eighth-best in the league.
Spread, Total and Trends
Like the AFC Championship Game, the home team is a 7.5-point favorite. The total is currently sitting at 45 points. The line has moved up from -7 to -7.5 for the 49ers and the total has jumped just a half of a point since opening. The Packers struggled last time in San Francisco but you have to think they will be better prepared this time around. Green Bay’s offense has been up-and-down all season but they will need Rodgers, Jones and Davante Adams to all have big games if they want to pull of the upset. Both teams have good pass rushing defenses that can pile up sacks and turnovers. Points may be at a premium in this one and the team who has the ball last might end up winning this game.
- Green Bay is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games.
- Green Bay is 6-0 SU in their last 6 games.
- Green Bay is 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games against San Francisco.
- Green Bay is 2-5 SU in their last 7 games against San Francisco.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Green Bay’s last 5 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Green Bay’s last 5 games on the road.
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of San Francisco’s last 10 games against Green Bay.
- San Francisco is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games.
- San Francisco is 14-3 SU in their last 17 games.
- San Francisco is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games at home.
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