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AFC Championship Preview

Week 20 of the 2019-20 NFL season is here and that means we are down to just four teams vying for two Super Bowl. 

Today we’ll examine two of those teams, the Titans & Chiefs and preview their AFC Championship Game for Boss Action Bookie Agents.

After a wild weekend in the Divisional Championship round, we are left with a quartet of championship hopefuls who will do battle this upcoming Sunday.  The NFL odds for these championship games have been set and are ready for dissection.  Let’s take a look at the early game on Sunday and catch Boss Action bookie agents up on all the news and notes.

AFC Championship Game Preview

Tennessee Titans (+280 ML) @ Kansas City Chiefs (-352 ML)
Sunday, January 19th at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri | 3:05 PM ET

The Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) are in the hunt for their first Super Bowl berth since the Nixon administration when they host the Titans this weekend. Tennessee hopes to keep their Cinderella story going after coming off two of the biggest win in franchise history against the Patriots and Ravens. 

Meanwhile the Titans The 2020 AFC Championship Game will kick off Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium with a spread of 7.5 in favor of KC.   The total for this game is set at 52.5 points, almost 10 more than it’s NFC counterpart.

The Titans continue to impress, coming off two wins in which the betting public had little faith in them earning outright wins in either. A lot of their success in the second half of the season has to be attributed to quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  That is a sentence I never thought I would have to write.  But it’s true, since taking the reigns Marcus Mariota, Tannehill has led the Titans to a 9-3 overall record, including two major upset wins so far in the postseason.

Now, despite that 9-3 record with Tannehill under center, the fact is that he hasn’t exactly filled the stat sheet, especially over the last two weeks.  In fact, if you just look at his stats, things were pretty grim over his previous two games. He totaled only 160 yards and three touchdowns after completing just 15 of 29 passes. That would be considered a bad game for most players, forget it being a combined two-game effort. Even if you add his lone rushing touchdown, those numbers are very suspect for a starting QB playing in the AFC Championship.

Nonetheless, Tannehills has the apparent ability to limit his mistakes and make the right play at the right time, even with a lot of mediocrity in between. He made two big plays early in the Ravens game, leading to two touchdowns and setting the tone early for the rest of the offense to step up and keep the momentum going.  Truth be told, as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over, running back Derrick Henry and the Titans’ defense might be enough to keep them in this game.

Speaking of Derrick Henry, the Titans’ running back is having a career year and has really been the key cog in Tennessee’s success. He posted 303 carries, 1,540 rushing yards, and 16 touchdowns which were all league-leading numbers in the regular season. Truly impressive totals for the 26-year-old, who had almost half as much success statistically this year alone as he’s seen over his entire pro career combined.

Despite running away with the rushing title, he has turned things up even more over the last three weeks, averaging 196 yards per game.  He also became the first player in NFL history to scamper for more than 175-yards in consecutive playoff games.

A rush heavy AFC Championship game would benefit the Titans by controlling the clock and keeping the KC offense and Patrick Mahomes off the field as much as possible.

As witnessed in their epic comeback win over the Texans, the Chiefs can put up numbers in bunches and will want all the possession time they can get. Even a day later it’s still unbelievable that despite trailing 24-0 early, KC managed to not only come back but win by 20 points and cover the spread when all was said and done. 

When the final whistle sounded, the Chiefs became the first team in NFL playoff history to win a game by 20 points after losing by 20 points. They also became the first playoff team ever to reel off 41 unanswered points, to score touchdowns on 7 consecutive drives and to score 50 points after getting shutout in the first quarter.

Many watching the game had the Chiefs dead in the water and that also rang true for players on the sidelines. Wideout Sammy Watkins was quoted as saying that he thought “A couple of times, I was like, this is over.”  Stating that he felt down about the poor start and unsure as to how his team could begin to mount a comeback. 

Watkins’ fears faded quickly when Mahomes marched out into the second quarter and threw four touchdowns, which coincidentally set another postseason record for the Chiefs. Three of those touchdowns were caught by Travis Kelce, surprise, another postseason record.

And just like that, the Chiefs erased a 24-point deficit in under 10 minutes, ended up leading at the half and never looking back.

KC’s early mistakes almost cost them the entire season and its a miracle it didn’t bury them. They dropped four prime passes in the first quarter alone which matched their total from the previous six games combined.  That combined with a blown coverage leading to a touchdown,  another off a blocked punt, and an untimely fumble put them a hole which seemed insurmountable.

And Ried put it best when he called the mistakes “freak stuff” that doesn’t happen to his team.  And all in all, he is totally right.  They have a very reliable offense and passing defense to go with a consistent special teams unit.  All three failed at the worst time but we’re rescued by Mahomes and Kelce. 

In this postseason alone, Mahomes has gone for 321 yards and five touchdowns for the Chiefs in the last two games.  He also is leading all rushers with 53 total yards while their actual running back Damien Williams ranks second with 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kelce leads the team with 10 catches for 134 yards and three touchdowns with the combination of the Mahomes and Kelce proving the be the difference on Sunday.

Now, looking forward to this AFC Championship matchup against the Titans it’s hard to see the Chiefs making so many early mistakes early. What should continue is the momentum KC is bringing into this Conference Title game after such an emotional blowout victory. 

But that doesn’t ensure victory against this Titans defense who just shut down the best scoring offense in the league along with the best rushing QB we’ve seen in years.

This AFC Championship game likely boils down to which defense is more effective at shutting down the elite players on the opposing teams.  So who does a better job?  Can the Chiefs hope to contain Derrick Henry and keep him around 100 yards?  Or can the Titans secondary and pass rush pressure Mahomes enough to rattle him into making bad decisions in the passing game.

Some betting stats for our Boss Action bookies to consider:

  • The Titans are 7-1-1 against the spread in their last nine games against AFC teams
  • The Chiefs are 6-0-1 against the spread in their last seven games overall
  • The Under has won in five of the Chiefs’ last seven games overall
  • The Under has won in seven of the Titans’ last eight games overall

While both teams are playing their best football of the season, it’s not hard to see that the Chiefs are a much better team all-around and deserve every point of that 7.5 spread. Despite beating the Chiefs in week 10, the Titans are a rather one-dimensional team and will find it hard for their defense to bail them out three weeks in a row. Besides, if Tennessee falls behind early, their reliance on the run game will really hurt their chances of mounting a comeback.  Either way, this should be a close one, just perhaps not as close as their 35-32 game earlier in the season.

There are just three NFL games remaining in the 2019-20 season and each one is important for our agents to finish the NFL season strong.  Therefore don’t forget to promote these games to your clients via text or email blast and include some of this information to inform them as well as yourself.

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