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Chiefs-Titans could either be an outright upset or a blowout

The Chiefs and Titans square off in the NFC Championship Game. Can Tennessee keep up in this one?

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs passes the ball during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET on FOX. The Chiefs came back from a 24-0 deficit to crush the Houston Texans 51-31 in the Divisional round. The Titans continued their magical run, beating the Ravens with a surprising ease 28-12 to advance to the AFC title game.

The Chiefs opened as a 7.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the total at 51. The line has remained at 7.5, while the point total has climbed to 53 as of Friday late morning. The Chiefs are -335 on the money line and the Titans are +275. The Chiefs are 12-5 against the spread this season, and have gone over the point total nine times. The Titans are 11-7 ATS and have gone over the point total nine times.

Injury report

The Chiefs are hoping to get defensive tackle Chris Jones back in the mix, but he’s looking like a difficult game-day decision. It’s a big blow regardless of the opponent, but given what we can expect of Derrick Henry up the middle coupled with the need to get to Ryan Tannehill, this is a tough one if he can’t play. I suspect he does not end up playing, but we’ll keep an eye out heading into Sunday.

The big question for Tennessee is the status of linebacker Jayon Brown. He has been limited this week, which is a big step up for him. A week ago he was a DNP all three days and ruled out for Sunday. The Titans also could get wide receiver Adam Humphries back for the first time since Week 13. He was limited after recurring DNPs, and while the passing game has done solid in his absence, he would give them a big boost.

Pick against the spread

I’m not sure if the injury reports for either team are going to matter in this one. An outright Titans upset is possible given what they’ve done the past two weeks against the Patriots and Ravens. If Derrick Henry dominates in this game, the Titans could keep it close.

This isn’t about a traditional defensive struggle with Tennessee winning a low scoring game. We’re going to see a lot of points regardless, but the Titans offense is sufficiently explosive to hang around. We saw them run a two-minute offense around just Derrick Henry, and his ability to pick up big chunks of yards will be critical to a potential Titans upset.

On the other hand, if the Chiefs’ offense looks like it did last week against Houston in the second, third, and fourth quarters, I don’t know if Tennessee can score nearly enough in this one. The Chiefs offense struggled in a big way, particularly against the run in the early part of the season. We’ve seen significant improvements in recent weeks, and that might be enough to take care of business on Sunday. They can’t completely shut down Derrick Henry, but if they can keep him int he 4.5 to 5.0 yards per carry, instead of 5.5 to 6.5 he’s had in recent weeks, I don’t think Tennessee can keep up.

I’m inclined to lay the points with the Chiefs, but I can see why people would take a flier on the Titans money line. Regardless of ATS or money line bets, the over is probably the best bet.

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