Titans vs. Chiefs Expert Picks with Odds and Betting Predictions
The four quarterbacks still standing in the NFL playoffs are Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Tannehill. Which one doesn't belong?
Jimmy G and Rodgers are two of the highest-paid players in the NFL, and as soon as Mahomes is eligible for an extension of his rookie deal he's going to be the highest-paid player in football history. Then there's the Tennessee Titans' Tannehill (who actually was drafted the highest of the four, laughably). Back in March, you may not even have noticed two minor transactions that the Titans made: Cutting Blaine Gabbert and trading a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft and a 2020-fourth rounder to Miami for Tannehill and a 2019 sixth-round selection.
Turns out that was one of the most important moves of the offseason; Tannehill signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Tennessee that could be worth up to $12 million. Ever since Tannehill took over as the starter for Marcus Mariota around midseason, the Titans have been a different team. Now Tannehill is going to cash in this offseason as a potential unrestricted free agent, although I'd say it's about 98 percent that he either re-signs or is slapped with the franchise tag.
The sixth-seeded Titans are the only "non-chalk" team in the NFL's Final Four on Sunday. It's their first trip to the AFC title game since following the 2002 season when Tennessee lost that game in Oakland.
Meanwhile, it's just the third all-time AFC Championship Game appearance for the Chiefs , who look to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since winning IV over the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. That was before the AFL/NFL merger, so obviously no AFC title game (played in AFL version). The Chiefs made it following the 1993 season and lost to Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills 30-13. Kansas City hosted the game last year and would have beaten New England if not for a late regulation offsides call on Chiefs pass-rusher Dee Ford (now with the 49ers), and the Patriots prevailed 37-31 in overtime.
Kansas City (0-2), the New York Jets (0-4), Cleveland (0-3), Jacksonville (0-3) and Houston (never) are the only current AFC franchises to never win the conference title game. Tennessee is the only team playing Sunday to never win a Super Bowl. The Chiefs are +125 favorites to win it all and the Titans +800.
Titans at Chiefs Betting Story Lines
While Tannehill is the reason the Titans are in the playoffs, he hasn't had a huge impact this postseason, throwing for a combined 160 yards on just 51.7 percent completions. Mahomes sometimes gets 160 yards in a quarter. However, Tennessee hasn't asked Tannehill do to much because Derrick Henry is a freaking monster.
The former Heisman Trophy winner dominated the Patriots in the Wild-Card round and then was even better last week in the stunning 28-12 win at top-seeded Baltimore, rushing for 195 yards AND throwing a short touchdown pass. Including Week 17 in Houston - which the Titans had to win to even get a playoff spot - Henry is the first player in NFL history with three straight games of at least 180 yards rushing. He's averaging 6.3 yards per carry with 11 touchdowns over his past eight.
During the regular season, Kansas City allowed 128.2 yards rushing per game, which was the worst of any playoff team. In last week's wild 51-31 win over Houston, the Texans averaged a solid 4.5 yards per carry. That game was nuts with Houston leading 24-0 in the second quarter and then Mahomes going superhuman. By the half it was 28-24 Chiefs on four Mahomes TD passes and he led seven straight TD drives overall. That's an NFL playoff record.
The Chiefs were the first team in postseason history to win a game by 20 that they trailed by at least 20. It was their biggest comeback win in franchise history and tied for fourth-biggest by any club in the playoffs. Mahomes became the first player with at least 300 yards passing (321), five TD passes (five) and 50 yards rushing (53) in a playoff game. Travis Kelce caught three of those scoring strikes. The Chiefs offense is incredibly fun to watch, much like LSU's this season and in the title game win Monday vs. Clemson behind record-setting Joe Burrow.
Titans at Chiefs Betting Odds and Trends
Kansas City is a 9-point favorite (+110) with a total of 52.5. On the moneyline, the Chiefs are -345 and Titans +285. On some alternate lines, the Chiefs are -10 (+130), -10.5 (+145), -7 (-125), -7.5 (-105) and -6.5 (-145). Tennessee is 7-3 against the spread on the road this season and 5-5 "over/under." K.C. is 5-3-1 ATS at home and 6-3 O/U.
The Titans are 6-0 ATS in their past six road games vs. teams with a winning home record. They are 7-1-1 ATS in their previous nine vs. the AFC. The Chiefs are 6-0-1 ATS in their past seven overall. They are 3-8 ATS in their past 11 playoff games. The under is 7-1 in the Titans' past eight playoff games. It's 5-2 in the Chiefs' past seven overall. The underdog has covered the previous four in this series.
Titans at Chiefs Betting Prediction
These clubs met in Week 10 in Nashville and the Titans won a wild game 35-32 behind 188 yards rushing and two scores from Henry. Tannehill was a solid 13-for-19 for 181 yards and two scores. Mahomes threw for 446 and three TDs in his return from a two-game injury absence. The Chiefs too often settled for field goals, though, and actually botched two of them - including the potential tying kick blocked at the end.
We wrote last week about how good of a coach Andy Reid is but has just that one Super Bowl appearance. It sure feels like everything is lining up for him this season, especially the Ravens getting knocked out and Kansas City getting to host this game.
The Chiefs should win this one, but Henry can keep it within a touchdown with clock-chewing drives. I'll take the 9 points. Cold day in K.C. so go under the total. Final score of 27-20 or something close to that.
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