AFC championship game prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans
No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs, noon PST, Ch. 2
What Titans need to do: They need to stick to running Derrick Henry and force some turnovers. That might not be enough, because Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a guy who can have two passes picked off and still lead his team to victory. The Titans defense needs an encore of what it did against Baltimore — rattle the Chiefs and jar them out of their character. Also, couldn’t hurt to pray for high winds and abnormal cold.
What Chiefs need to do: They need to commit to limiting the run and get a few stops that way. If they can make the Titans go 80 yards and execute long drives time after time, it will be difficult to go punch for punch with the boom-boom-boom-touchdown pace of Mahomes. K.C. shouldn’t completely sell out to stop the run because Ryan Tannehill can make defenses pay. If the Chiefs can get wrecking-ball defensive tackle Chris Jones back, that would help a lot. They need to deny one of those super-long Henry runs and aim to limit his longest carry to 20 yards or fewer.
Sam Farmer’s pick: The Titans are big underdogs, and that plays in their favor. They’ll run it well and play-action off the run. But they don’t have quite enough to hang with Mahomes and the quick-strike Kansas City offense … as long as the weather doesn’t get too nasty.
CHIEFS 33, TITANS 27
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