2018 NFL Playoffs
AFC Wild Card Game
#5 Tennessee Titans at #4 Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday, January 6, 2018, 4:35 pm Eastern, TV: ABC, ESPN
Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri
Opening Line: Kansas City -8 (+110)
Current Line: Kansas City -8 1/2
Opening Total: 44 1/2
Current Total; 44 1/2
Opening Money Line: Chiefs -340 / Titans +280
Current Money Line: Chiefs -450 / Titans +350
Eight of the twelve playoff teams did not qualify for the tournament last season, and four teams are ending long playoff droughts. The 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs are one of four teams who were the playoffs last year. The AFC West Champion Chiefs are in the playoffs for the third straight season and are the #4 seed in the AFC. They host the 9-7 Tennessee Titans in the wild card round Saturday. The Titans are the #5 seed and finished second in the AFC South. Tennessee is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Kansas City leads the series 29-22 against Tennessee. The Titans have won two straight games against the Chiefs including 19-17 in 2016 in Kansas City. This is only the third playoff meeting between the Titans and Chiefs, and first since 1994 when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers. This series dates back to the first season of the AFL in 1960. Both teams were based in Texas at the time as the Chiefs began as the Dallas Texans.
Tennessee is coached by Mike Mularkey. Tennessee has home losses to the Oakland Raiders 26-16 and Los Angeles Rams 27-23, plus road losses to the Houston Texans 57-14, Miami Dolphins 16-10, Pittsburgh Steelers 40-17, Arizona Cardinals 12-7 and San Francisco 49ers 25-23. The Titans have home wins over the Seattle Seahawks 33-27, Indianapolis Colts 36-22, Baltimore Ravens 23-20, Cincinnati Bengals 24-20, Houston Texans 24-13 and Jacksonville Jaguars 15-10 last week, plus road wins over the Jaguars 37-16, Cleveland Browns 12-9 in overtime and Colts 20-16. The win against the Jaguars last snapped a three game losing streak for the Titans and clinched a playoff spot. The Titans were 2.5 point favorites against the Jaguars and the total was 40. Tennessee is 8-7-1 ATS and the total is 9-7 this season.
Kansas City is coached by Andy Reid. The Chiefs have road wins over the New England Patriots 42-27, the Los Angeles Chargers 24-10, Houston Texans 42-34 and Denver Broncos 27-24 last week, plus home wins over the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20, Washington Redskins 29-20, Broncos 29-19, Oakland Raiders 26-15, Chargers 30-13 and Miami Dolphins 29-23. The Chiefs have won four straight games after a four game losing streak. Kansas City has home losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-13 and Buffalo Bills 16-10, plus road losses to the Raiders 31-30, Dallas Cowboys 28-17, New York Giants 12-9 in overtime and New York Jets 38-31 . The Chiefs were 3 point underdogs against the Broncos and the total was 37.5. Kansas City is 10-6 ATS and the total is 8-8 this season.
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Tennessee is being outscored 22-21 this season. The Titans are #17 in points allowed and #19 in scoring. Tennessee averages 314 yards per game on offense including 199 passing and 115 rushing yards. The Titans are #23 in total and passing offense. On defense, the Titans are allowing 328 total yards per game including 239 passing and 89 rushing yards. Tennessee is #4 in rush defense but #25 in pass defense. Tennessee is 76/212 on third and fourth conversions and opponents are 88/230. Tennessee has forced 43 sacks and allowed 35 this season. The Titans are -4 in turnovers and have allowed four defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota has completed 62% of his passes for 3,232 yards with 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, plus 60 carries for 312 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has been sacked 27 times. Matt Cassel is the back-up and has thrown for 162 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. He has been sacked 8 times.
Running back Derrick Henry has 176 carries for 744 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus 11 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. DeMarco Murray has 184 carries for 659 yards with 6 touchdowns, along with 39 catches for 266 yards and a touchdown. He is out with a knee injury. No other running back has more than 8 carries. Jalston Fowler has a rushing touchdown.
Tight end Delanie Walker has 74 catches for 807 yards and three touchdowns, and also has a rushing touchdown. Receiver Rishard Matthews has 53 catches for 795 yards and 4 touchdowns. Eric Decker has 54 catches for 563 yards and a touchdown. Taywan Taylor has 16 catches for 231 yards and a touchdown, plus 43 rushing yards. Corey Davis has 13 catches for 149 yards. Jonnu Smith has 18 catches for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a concussion. Eight defensive players are listed on the injury report.
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Kansas City is outscoring teams 26-21 this season. Kansas City is #6 in scoring. The Chiefs average 375 total yards per game on offense including 257 passing and 119 rushing yards per game. KC is #9 or better in all three categories. Kansas City allows 365 total yards per game on defense including 247 passing and 118 rushing. The Chiefs are #25 or worse in all three categories. The Chiefs are 81/209 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 92/224. Kansas City has forced 31 sacks and allowed 37 sacks this season. The Chiefs are +15 in turnovers, and have scored 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Quarterback Alex Smith has completed 67.5% of his passes for 4,042 yards with 26 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and has 60 carries for 355 yards and a touchdown. He has been sacked 35 times. Rookie Patrick Mahomes is the quarterback of the future. He has thrown for 284 yards with an interception
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt has 272 carries for 1,327 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 53 catches for 455 yards and 3 touchdowns. He led the league in rushing. Charcandrick West has 2 rushing touchdowns, and also has 27 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He is probable with the flu. Spencer Ware was supposed to be the starter but tore his ACL in the preseason.
Receiver Tyreek Hill has 75 catches for 1,183 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 17 carries for 59 rushing yards. He also has a punt return for a touchdown. Hill is probable because of a personal issue. Tight end Travis Kelce has 83 catches for 1,038 yards and 8 touchdowns. Albert Wilson has 42 catches for 554 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Demetrius Harris has 18 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown. Demarcus Robinson has 21 catches for 212 yards. Chris Conley has 11 catches for 175 yards. He is out for the season with a knee injury. De’Anthony Thomas has 12 catches for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out for the season with a leg injury. Twelve defensive players are listed on the injury report along with two offensive linemen.
The road team is 7-1 ATS in this series recently. The Titans are 5-1 ATS against the Chiefs recently. The over is 5-2 in the series recently.
The Titans are limping into the playoffs losing three of their last four games. Kansas City has regained the swagger of the 5-0 start that had Chiefs fans thinking of a Super Bowl. Kansas City is tough at home and I like them to win by pulling away in the second half.