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Harry’s Alleged Locks: Conference Championships

Harry’s Alleged Locks

Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City Chiefs -7.5, 52

Titans +7.5, OVER 52

Despite staking the Texans to a 24-point cushion and roaring back to put up 51 and cover, the Chiefs almost have to take a back seat to the historic run the Titans are on right now. Tennessee with a win at Arrowhead this week would have victories in four straight weeks over all four AFC division winners, and all on the road.

The Titans beat the Texans in Week 17 just to qualify for the playoffs and since then it’s been their defense and Derrick Henry leading the way. The defense on Wild Card Weekend shut out the Patriots in the second half, the first time anyone has done that to New England since the Bills in October 2016 and, oh by the way, Jacoby Brissett was at quarterback that day for the Pats and not Tom Brady.

Derrick Henry was amazing vs the Pats, going for 182 yards, then topped that with 195 yards in Baltimore, and he even did his best Tim Tebow impersonation with a jump step pass for a touchdown to wide receiver Corey Davis. This is an epic run by Henry, and it will be interesting to see what Kansas City does to try to stop him.

These two teams hooked up in Week 9 and the Titans won that game 35-32. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a monster day, throwing for three touchdowns and over 400 yards, but it was Henry who came up huge, averaging 8.2 yards a carry while rumbling for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Henry was the difference as Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill only had one receiver go over 50 yards receiving while Mahomes had four.

The Kansas City offense will put up points and taking the UNDER in a Chiefs playoff game just isn’t smart (68 total points in the AFC championship last year and 82 last week), but this Kansas City run defense has had its problems this season, finishing 26th in the league against the run.

Two years ago, these teams met at Arrowhead in the playoffs and Kansas City was also a 7.5-point favorite and I’ll give you one guess who was the reason the Titans shocked the Chiefs 22-21 that day. You guessed it: Derrick Henry led the way with 158 tough yards on the ground and a touchdown.

The Tennessee defense in that playoff game also came up huge and shut out Andy Reid’s team in the second half. Again, the Chiefs were simply amazing once the second quarter started against Houston last week, but I’m riding this Titans team with the +7.5 as they are on the verge of possibly doing something historic.

As for the OVER, the Chiefs have played AFC South teams five times this year and the totals in four of them were 55, 66, 67 and 82.

Trends for Tennessee/Kansas City:

  1. The Titans are 4-0 straight up and ATS in their last four games against the Chiefs.
  2. Tennessee is 6-1 ATS in its last seven visits to Arrowhead.
  3. Kansas City is just 3-11 ATS at home in its last 14 games in January.
  4. Nine of the last 12 Titans games have gone OVER.
  5. Five of the last seven Chiefs games have gone OVER.

Harry’s Final Analysis:

The Titans will be able to move the ball and score at times but at the end of the game, Patrick Mahomes will put the Chiefs on his shoulders and find a way to get it done in a classic matchup.

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Titans 29

Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers -7, 45

49ers -7, OVER 45

These two rivals also met earlier this season on a Sunday night and the 49ers played possibly their most complete game of the season, pounding the Packers 37-8. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers remembers that game and knows what he has to do to fix the issues, but the only thing is I don’t think the Packers have the overall talent receiver-wise to do it.

The San Francisco defense was all over the field (led by Fred Warner, 118 tackles this season) in their 27-10 victory last week against Minnesota and even if they allow Davante Adams to have a decent day but shut down the rest of the Packers’ average receiving corps and running back Aaron Jones, the Niners will put another big-time hurt on the Packers.

I don’t expect the Niners to stop Rodgers like they did in the last game (only 104 yards passing) but the offense of the Niners is what drives them to the Super Bowl.

The Packers finished the season only 23rd against the rush and the 49ers were second in the league running the ball and looked great doing it against the Vikings. We should see heavy doses of Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Coleman looked fantastic last week, going for 105 yards on 22 carries with two scores. He and Mostert both averaged 4.8 yards a rush last week as the San Fran offensive line manhandled the Minnesota front five.

In that earlier affair in November, tight end George Kittle had 129 yards and ripped off a 61-yard touchdown. He was very quiet last week, as was receiver Emmanuel Sanders, so look for those two to have big games as well. If San Francisco has any trick plays up its sleeve, look out for rookie Deebo Samuel – he can run as well as catch.

The bottom line here is that Green Bay is outmanned and was fortunate in numerous regular-season games and last week against the Seahawks. Seattle’s play-calling was awful in the first half; when the Seahawks figured out what they could do against the Packers defense, they exploited it and came close to winning but had simply dug themselves too big a hole. In this spot, the Niners will just smash the football down their throats from the start and will continue to look like they did in the first half of the year.

Trends for Green Bay/San Francisco:

  1. Green Bay is just 3-12-1 straight up in its last 16 games as an underdog.
  2. The 49ers are 10-2 straight up in their last 12 as a favorite.
  3. San Fran is 11-3 straight up in its last 14 games in January.
  4. The Packers are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games vs the Niners.
  5. The total has gone OVER in six of Green Bay’s last seven January road games.
  6. Five of the Niners’ last seven home games have gone OVER with an average combined score of 54 points.
  7. The total has gone OVER in seven of the last 10 matchups between these teams with an average combined score of 52.

Harry’s Final Analysis:

Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo just has to manage this team, make throws when necessary and let the rest of the offense take charge, while Nick Bosa and the Niners defense create opportunities as the game goes along. If the Packers show signs of faltering, the Niners are fast and will pounce all over them. Remember this Niners team was so dynamic and dominant the first part of the season and they showed signs of that last week in the divisional round of the playoffs. In the NFC championship, I believe we will get the whole package from San Francisco and the Packers won’t know what hit them.

Prediction: 49ers 41, Packers 21