The Chiefs started the year 5-0, only to slide to 6-6. They closed the regular season at 10-6 and won the AFC West title.
Tennessee was in the hunt for the AFC South title at 8-4. But they lost three games in a row and had to beat Jacksonville in Week 17 to secure a Wild Card spot.
This puts both teams heading in different directions going into the postseason. Tennessee is scraping by, while the Chiefs are playing great.
Can the Titans’ continue their momentum from the win over the Jaguars? Or will Kansas City win at home as expected? Let’s find out by looking at the GTBets odds on this game and put some analysis behind them.
Tennessee vs Kansas City AFC Wild Card (Jan 6 at 4:30pm ET)
Titans Chiefs Point Spread
Tennessee +9 (-115)
Kansas City -9 (+105)
Titans Chiefs Moneyline
Kansas City -430
Over 44 (-110)
Under 44 (-110)
Key Factors for Tennessee (9-7)
However, consistency has been a major problem with him so far. The University of Oregon product set a career low in yards per completion (7.1) and yards per carry (5.2) this season.
The banner game for Mariota is not overly impressive either. He completed 23-of-33 passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers against the San Francisco 49ers in a Week 15 loss.
Tennessee was hoping that this would be the norm, rather than the highlight of Mariota’s third season. In any case, he must play like this in order for the Titans to get an upset on the road. And this will be made more difficult with rumors that he’s playing through both hamstring and ankle injuries.
Mariota hasn’t been the only problem during the Titans’ bad play down the stretch. The defense ranks 11th in points allowed among playoff teams, ranking only ahead of the Bills. This could be a problem given that Kansas City has some really good playmakers.
The key to the Titans winning will be relying on running backs Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray to pick up yardage and keep this game a low scoring affair. Assuming Murray and Henry can do this, it’ll give the defense a chance to rest and take some of the pressure off an injured Mariota.
Key Factors for Kansas City (10-6)
As mentioned before, the Chiefs suffered a mid-season lull that had many questioning if they’d even make the playoffs. But Kansas City rallied, winning their last four regular season games to hold off the L.A. Chargers for the AFC West.
This four-game winning streak has produced some encouraging signs for the game against Tennessee. The Chiefs limited opponents to 15, 13, 13, and 24 points during their hot streak. The 24 points given up to the Denver Broncos came last Sunday, when most Kansas City starters didn’t even play.
The team also forced 12 turnovers, which almost matched the 14 turnovers they forced in the first 12 games this season.
Quarterback Alex Smith also earned some redemption during the recent win streak. A few bad games had people questioning whether Smith should be replaced with rookie Patrick Mahomes. However, the longtime veteran erased these doubts by passing for seven touchdowns, just one interception, and producing a 100 passer rating over the last four games.
Here lies one big advantage for the Chiefs in that Smith is more consistent than Mariota. He doesn’t make a lot of turnovers, yet Smith can still produce big plays thanks to the talent at his disposal.
Hunt actually led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards, and scored eight touchdowns. The third-round pick out of Toledo also caught 53 passes for 455 yards and three more TDs.
Hill haulled in 75 catches for 1,183 yards and seven TDs. Kelce was just as good, catching 83 balls for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Chiefs are at home and have the advantage on both offense and defense. They just need to execute and avoid turnovers to win this game.
Prediction on Titans vs Chiefs
Kansas City opened as a -7.5 favorite. I’m not surprised that the line shifted to -9, given that they’re playing at Arrowhead and are coming into the playoffs on a hot streak.
The Chiefs are also 8-5 against the spread as favorites. I not only look for them to win this game, but also cover -9.
Tennessee simply has too many questions on offense and defense right now. Furthermore, they’re playing on the road in one of the NFL’s toughest environments. That said, I don’t expect them to keep this game very close.
Final Score Prediction: Kansas City 31, Tennessee 13