“3:05, We Gone Do It Again (Round II)”

AFC Championship

(6) Tennessee Titans at (2) Kansas City Chiefs 

Titans: Another week, they’ve sent another team to an early vacation. In the Wild Card round, they punched the New England Patriots in the mouth. Prior to the game, I said if they were able to feed Derrick Henry the football and he got at least 30 carries, they would be victorious. In that game against the defending champions, he carried the football 34 times and ran for 182 yards in a win. Before they played the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens, my key to the game was establishing him again early on. Feed your playmakers the football. He ran for 195 yards in the upset win over the team many considered to be the best in football. How exactly did the Tennessee Titans stun Baltimore? Simple, they played the brand of football better than the Ravens did on Saturday night. It all started with their offensive line. They have a strong offensive line anchored by Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin. Tennessee also uses tight ends as additional blockers. They simply wore down the Baltimore defensive front from the first 15 minutes to the final whistle of the game. I also noticed the Titans attacking the Ravens secondary as often as possible. They were able to pick their spots efficiently. On defense, they did exactly what the Los Angeles Chargers did last year when they played the Ravens in the playoffs which was sit back in zone coverage in the secondary and the front seven took away the running lanes to make Lamar Jackson a traditional pocket passer. He was forced to throw the football 59 times. Looking to stun the world again, they’ll travel to Arrowhead on Sunday afternoon with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Chiefs: Just like you, I had my doubts. Many would especially when you see a team go down 24 points early on in a game. Sometimes, it’s tough to recover. The minute when I saw the Houston Texans elect to run a fake punt way too early in the game, things were bound to change. I just kept saying on Twitter the game wasn’t necessarily over because all they needed was one score to get themselves back into the fold. That’s exactly what happened. When you play a team like the Kansas City Chiefs knowing the type of offense they possess, the last thing you want to do is give them less than half the football field to work with because they will come away with six points. That’s exactly what happened! What was once a big deficit turned into 28 unanswered points before halftime. Patrick Mahomes amazes me at what he’s able to do. He’s more than capable of throwing the football in the pocket. When he gets out the pocket to scramble, that’s when you worry as a defense because he can extend the play. He did a lot of that in the big comeback win on Sunday. Want to know what really impressed me? The Chiefs defense was extremely sloppy and undisciplined in the first half. The 24 straight points allowed, you thought they reverted to their old ways of struggling defense. In the second half, they only gave up seven points. I saw a mentally tough Chiefs team for the remainder of the game. Another year, the Chiefs are set to host the AFC title game once again.

Titans Player to Watch: Jonnu Smith– He’s an underrated force that’s becoming a solid tight end at the next level. He blocks in the running game and in the passing. When his number is called upon to make a play, he answers the call. Smith moves well in open space with the ball in his hands. Watch for the Chiefs to focus so much on Derrick that he can get himself behind the coverage to catch passes. It’s a luxury to play with a guy that commands so much attention because you get the one on one looks.

Chiefs Player to Watch: Chris Jones– He’s their best defensive lineman. As a group, they were able to play well collectively. Isn’t it incredible that one guy can make all the difference? He holds everything together in the front seven for the Chiefs. You saw how much he was missed in the first half of the game against the Texans. If he’s able to go in this one, you’ll see a much different looking Chiefs defense on Sunday in the AFC title game

Final Analysis: These Titans remind me a lot of the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers all because of the running game. Then, the quarterbacks don’t have to do much but control the game. It’s worked for them in their first two playoff wins. Why get away from it? The key once again will be to establish that grown man known as Derrick Henry. Until a team can stop the Titans ground game, continue to run the football. Ryan Tannehill will need to throw the ball more in this one. They’ll need more of a balanced attack offensively in this game. The Chiefs enter this game with a serious chip on their shoulder. They still remember how they lost in the AFC title game last season. I’m putting a ton of pressure on the Titans defense if I’m the Chiefs offense. They’ll more than likely double Tyreek Hill, do everything to limit Kelce. Make Mecole Hardman a point of emphasis early on. The Chiefs also need to run the ball better. I think it’s key for the Chiefs to get off to a fast start. The Titans have done that in each of their wins, make them come from behind. This is also a rematch of a week ten showdown. The Titans were the last team to beat the Chiefs.

Prediction: Chiefs 28 Titans 20

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