The Tennessee Titans continue their improbable run toward Super Bowl LIV on Sunday afternoon, when they face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in this year’s AFC Championship. The two teams faced off on November 10 in Nashville, and Tennessee pulled out a 35-32 victory, launching the Titans on a four-game winning streak, a run in which the Titans would score at least 35 points per game.
The Chiefs prepare to host the AFC Championship for a second straight year, but they have not appeared in a Super Bowl in fifty years. It was the Chiefs’ win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV that gave the AFL legitimacy as a separate league and prompted the NFL to pursue a merger. Since then, the Chiefs have fallen off the table, appearing in an AFC Championship in 1993, 2019 and now again in 2020.
Last year, the Chiefs lost to New England in overtime. Can they make it to Super Bowl LIV? Or will Tennessee polish off another favorite on the road? Check out our NFL betting preview of Sunday’s clash.
Titans vs Chiefs 2020 AFC Championship Odds, Preview & Prediction
- When: Sunday, January 19, 2020, 3:05 pm ET
- Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
- TV: CBS
- Radio: Westwood One
- Live Stream: NFL League Pass
- NFL Odds: Kansas City -7.5 / O/U 51.5
Why should you bet on Tennessee?
The Titans’ chances center around Derrick Henry. He has run for at least 180 yards in three consecutive games, including the wild card and divisional playoff games. He is big; he breaks tackles; he is also quick. He finds holes and knifes through them, and as Earl Thomas found, once he is headed downhill, he uses stiff-arms to keep defenders off him while he keeps churning toward paydirt. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been clutch, but he has not had to do much. In the two playoff games this season, Tannehill has gone 15 for 29 for 160 yards, with three scores and a pick. That’s in two games combined. He’s in good company; the only other quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win back-to-back playoff games while throwing at least one touchdown pass but fewer than 100 yards was Terry Bradshaw.
On defense, the Titans have posted a +3 turnover ratio. Tannehill threw an interception against New England, but the Titans also got a pick-six of Tom Brady in the waning moments of the game. Against Baltimore, Tennessee had three takeaways: a pair of interceptions and a strip-sack of Lamar Jackson. One more note on offense: during the regular season, Tennessee converted 38 percent of their third down conversions, good for 18th in the NFL. In the playoffs, that number has jumped to 52 percent. Can they maintain that against the Chiefs? If so, they will keep drives going — and keep Mahomes off the field.
Why should you put your money on Kansas City?
The Titans took down New England — a team that struggled to move the ball either on the ground or through the air — and Baltimore — a team that prefers to use its running game to build a lead and then grind out the clock. In both cases, the Titans jumped out to an early lead, forcing their opponent to go pass-heavy. It didn’t work for the Patriots, and it didn’t work for the Ravens, as Lamar Jackson had a pair of interceptions and a fumble on a strip-sack. Also, the Ravens were stopped on fourth-and-1 twice — after going 8 for 8 in that situation during the regular season.
Kansas City is a team that will light you up with its passing attack. They attempted 576 passes during the regular season (including 50 in that loss at Tennessee). That game was Patrick Mahomes’ first game after missing time due to knee and ankle issues, and the rust on his game was clear as he sailed a number of passes to open receivers. If you like the Chiefs, then you see them avoiding the early mistakes that got them down 24 points to Houston and putting together the sort of drives that saw them put up 51 points in the win. The Titans must get pressure on Mahomes; if not, you can take the over here for sure.
Final Score Prediction
If you saw how quickly the Chiefs were able to flip the switch and pour the points all over Houston, it’s hard not to pick the Chiefs again. Their offense is more dynamic than the Patriots’ or the Ravens’; the Baltimore team was built to run out to a lead and then strangle the opposition, rather than to come back. Kansas City is mentally tough and will have the motivation of that November loss to Tennessee to avenge. I predict a final score of Chiefs 41, Titans 23.