Next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, the Chiefs will host the Titans for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIV. If you would have told me two weeks ago this would be the AFC Championship matchup, I’d probably laugh in your face. Honestly, I still might. What is no laughing matter is each team’s path to next week’s game.
In a previous post, I mentioned how underestimated the Titans were in their match with, what we thought, was the team of destiny, the Baltimore Ravens. As bad as Baltimore fans might feel right now, how bout those Texans? Wait, I think I might actually mean that as a double entendre. In Dallas, your Cowboys are the greatest statical team to not make the Playoffs. And now 234 miles away in Houston, The Chiefs were who you thought they were, and you let them off the hook? They were for the First Quarter anyway. The Texans got bushwhacked. Actually, I think there is a wrasslin analogy even more appropriate. The Texans got hit with the old Hulk Hogan routine after the 1st quarter;
The immortal shake that let you know you were in trouble (that would be the 3 touchdowns the Chiefs scored in under 4 minutes),
The body slam to get the crowd going ( that’s the touchdown before halftime to take the lead)
And the Big Boot and Leg Drop 1-2-3.
So what ya gonna do Tennessee, when Mahomes and the Chiefs run wild on you? Whatever you do, don’t do what the Texans just did, because that didn’t work. In all seriousness, I get the sense that next week is gonna be a pretty good game.
The last time these teams met was Week 10 in Tennessee, a game the Titans won 35-32, despite Mahomes throwing for a season-high 446 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Derrick Henry rushed for 188 yards and 2 Touchdowns. I wouldn’t fall for the trap of assuming next week would be a carbon copy of that Week 10 showdown.
What Does This Mean for This Weekend?
If the Titans win, it’s because their defense found an answer to the Chiefs intermediate and deep passing game and was able to get pressure on Mahomes and keep him in check. Also, Derrick Henry will need to be special, as special as he’s already been against the Patriots and the Ravens, if not even more so.
If the Chiefs win, it’ll be because Mahomes was effective with his feet and hands; able to run to escape pressure for positive gains, and accurate on intermediate throws to Hill, Kelce, and Williams. On defense, they were able to contain Henry and limit the Titans’ ability to get the ball down the field.
Who Wins the Game? – My gut says turnovers will dictate this game. Whoever can force more and does a better job of capitalizing on it will win. Derrick Henry reminds me of the great Chiefs Running Back Christian Okoye( nicknamed the Nigerian Nightmare). Google him kids. His last season in the NFL in 1992. The following year, those Chiefs met the Houston Oilers (now the Titans) in a Divisional Playoff game at the Astrodome in Houston. The Chiefs won that game 28-20. That’s what I think the score will be this weekend; Chiefs win 28-20.