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Titans vs. Chiefs Game Details
Date: Sunday, January 18
Time: 3:05 p.m. ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
Spread: Chiefs -7.5
*All lines & odds courtesy of FanDuel
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are back in the AFC Championship Game for the second straight season, falling to the Patriots in overtime last January 37-31. The Tennessee Titans are playing their fourth consecutive road game after finishing the regular season at Houston and playing their first two playoff games away from home.
The Chiefs allowed 21 points in the first quarter last Sunday in the wild win over the Texans and are 27th in the NFL allowing 5.9 points in the opening stanza this season. However, we believe this number is over-inflated because of Kansas City’s explosion on offense last week. Take the value and go with a contrarian play.
Prediction: First Quarter Under 10.5
The Chiefs lead the NFL in first-half points per game (17.3) and outscored Houston 28-3 in the second quarter of their victory last Sunday. Meanwhile, the Titans rank near the bottom of the league averaging just 9.7 points per game in the first half and the Chiefs defense is allowing just 4.1 points per second quarter this season.
Tennesee was able to outscore Kansas City 13-3 in the second quarter of their earlier meeting this season in Nashville, however, one of the touchdowns was a 53-yard fumble return by Rashaan Evans. We think Kansas City will have more success this time around in the opening half.
Prediction: First Half Chiefs -4.5
The Chiefs have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season and we expect all of their defensive attention to be focused on Derrick Henry, who gashed Kansas City for 188 yards in their last meeting.
Jonnu Smith has emerged as a reliable target for Ryan Tannehill and scored his first postseason touchdown last week in the win over the Ravens with a breathtaking catch in the back corner of the end zone. We like Smith’s value to score again on Sunday.
Prediction: Jonnu Smith TD anytime +340
The Chiefs have been able to consistently score points at Arrowhead Stadium this season as the over is 6-3 in Kansas City home games.
The Titans have won the second half in nine of their past 10 second halves, dating back to Week 10 against the Chiefs. Tennessee is outscoring opponents 19.8 to 10.4 over the span, over nine points per second half.
Falling behind and getting away from the run isn’t an option for Tennessee if it wants to follow the same blueprint laid out in wins over New England and Baltimore. The Titans need the luxury of being up (or close on the scoreboard) and playing without panic to lean hard into the ground game and wear down the Kansas City defense.
Derrick Henry is averaging 5.9 yards per attempt and 188.5 rushing yards per game in the playoffs and will be facing a Chiefs defense ranked 28th in rushing efficiency DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.
Prediction: Over 52.5
The Titans overcame a 29-20 fourth-quarter deficit against the Chiefs in November en route to a 35-32 victory. Sunday will be the fifth time this season that Tennessee has been an underdog of at least four points having won each of the first four outright, including that earlier matchup against Kansas City in Week 10.
Tennessee is also the fifth team in the history of the NFL to win its wild-card and divisional-round games as underdogs of at least four points. However, the previous four teams were 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS the following week in the conference title game.
Prediction: Chiefs -7.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith