We’re so close to Super Bowl 54, we can smell it. But before that, we’ll have to see first which teams will face each other off in Florida in February. The Super Bowl 54 matchup will be determined this coming weekend, with the Tennessee Titans taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game and the Green Bay Packers squaring off with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. The predictions have been made, so let’s get to them.
Picks and Predictions for the AFC/ NFC Conference Championship Games for the 2019-20 NFL Playoffs
Tennessee Titans (+7.5) vs Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5): Sunday Jan 19 (3:05 PM EST)
What is there left to say about Derrick Henry? The Titans running back is putting Tennessee on his shoulders with one huge performance after another. Henry finished the regular season as the league’s top rusher with 1,540 rushing yards to go with 16 rushing scores — also the most in the NFL. He’s now slowing down in the playoffs either. He rushed for 182 yards in the wild-card round against the New England Patriots and 195 more against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round. But credit should also be given to Tennessee’s defense for the team’s resurgence. The Titans have outscored their opponents in the playoffs, 48-25. Henry rushed for 188 yards and a couple of touchdowns in the Titans’ 35-32 home win over Kansas City in the regular season.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, went absolutely off in the divisional round, smothering the Houston Texans in a 51-31 win at Arrowhead Stadium. Patrick Mahomes was a touchdown machine in that game, throwing five TDs and 321 passing yards without an interception. Although the Titans’ defense has impressed of late, fatigue may also be setting on Tennessee’s stop unit after dealing with the Pats and the Ravens, so it may be in lesser form when it faces the Chiefs’ offense that concluded the regular season third in the league with 29.5 PPG.
Prediction: The Chiefs win, 27-24.
Green Bay Packers (+7.5) vs San Francisco 49ers (-7.5): Sunday Jan 19 (6:40 PM EST)
The Packers are getting another crack at the 49ers after securing a berth in the NFC Championship Game with a 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks at home in the divisional round. The Packers got 243 passing yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-27 completions, while running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Davante Adamse each had two scores, too. The Packers’ defense showed up, sacking Russell Wilson five times.
Green Bay’s defense is going to be the bigger factor in the rematch with San Francisco, and that means sustaining the same kind of pass rush in the Seattle game.
Speaking of pass rushing, there’s arguably not a better unit in the league than that of the 49ers’. Green Bay should know about that because Rodgers kissed the turf five times for a loss of 38 yards in the loss to San Francisco. That tenacity by the 49ers’ defense was also on full display in their 27-10 home win over the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round when San Francisco sacked Kirk Cousins six times.
Prediction: The 49ers win, 26-23.
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