Tennessee at Kansas City
Time: 2 PM CST (CBS)
Spread: SF -9
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Tennessee Titans have been something of a “Cinderella” story in this year’s postseason. Already having knocked off the vaunted New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans set their eyes now on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Titans are 9-point underdogs in the game, with an over/under set at 45.5 points according to NFL oddsmakers at 5dimes.
TEN, News & notes:
The Titans have won three-straight games including a Wild card game win over New England and last week’s 28-12 takedown of the Baltimore Ravens
Ryan Tannehill never really got it together in Miami, but he has put together a very strong season with the Titans. He threw 8 of 15 in the win over the Patriots, for 72 passing yards and a touchdown two weeks ago. Last week he threw 7 of 14 for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
Perhaps it served as a wakeup call for the veteran because he has been rock-solid since that defeat. Tannehill is completing 70.3 percent of his passes this year with 2,742 yards and 22 TDs to his six picks. His passer rating is 123.9, and he has been much better than vaunted prospect Marcus Mariota, who may never reach his ultimate “potential” after really struggling this season. The offensive line was finally not fully to blame, Mariota simply made some very bad plays. Tannehill also functions well as a rushing threat. He has attempted just nine rushes but averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry and he has four touchdowns, which trails only Henry (16).
The Titans rank No. 21 in passing yards but are a top-3 rushing team at 138.9 yards per game. The offense overall, too, is solid. Tennessee averages 25.1 points per game while limiting its opponents to just 20.7 per, good for a differential of +4.4 points. Tannehill’s top passing targets have been AJ Brown and Corey Davis. Brown is the leader in yards (1,051), touchdowns (8) and first downs (39). Tight end Jonnu Smith has been featured, but so has backup Delanie Walker. That duo combines for 56 catches and over 600 yards between them, as Tennessee has gotten the most out of its tight ends this season.
Kicking has been a problem for the Titans this season. Between its three placekickers, it has managed to get just 8 of 18 field goals. The best has been Cody Parkey, who is 3 of 3, including a long-kick of 51 yards. Of course, the trio has gone 50 of 52 on PATs, but the field goal kicking has been something of an Achilles heel when the Titans cannot just drive it into the end zone for six.
KANSAS CITY, news & notes:
Kansas City comes in as winners of its last five, having defeated the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos over the last four weeks of the regular season. It won its playoff matchup against the Houston Texans in a high scoring affair that saw the Chiefs win 51-31.
The Chiefs boast the No. 5 ranked pass offense, as Patrick Mahomes cannon has led Kansas City to average 281.1 passing yards per game. The Chiefs rank just No. 23 in rush offense with 98.1 rushing yards per game, but its overall offense is the No. 5 scoring in the league at 28.2 per game. Additionally, the Chiefs have been tough on the defensive end, limiting teams to just 19.3 points per game this season.
Mahomes has been sensational this season with 280 of 426 passing (65.7 percent) for 3,606 yards and a 315.8 yard-per-game average. He has thrown for 23 touchdowns with just four interceptions, and he has been sacked just 1.33 times per game. Mahomes’ passer rating is 106.2. He also leads the team in yards-per-carry, with 5.4 yards standing as his rushing average on his 34 attempts this season. LeSean McCoy is the lead-rusher with 465 yards on 101 attempts and a team-best four touchdowns.
But it is in the air that Mahomes really does the damage. His top receiver is tight end Travis Kelce, who has caught 86 passes for 1,131 yards and four touchdowns this season. The top wideouts are Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, who have each caught 49 passes for 727 and 637 yards, respectively. Hill leads the team with seven receiving touchdowns, but he has fumbled twice (one not recovered). McCoy has fared well out of the backfield, too, having caught 28 of 34 targeted passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs have such talent at the skill positions and it has produced one of the NFL’s top offenses.