It’s been absolutely an absorbing brace of weeks in the NFL. We are acclimated to seeing a brace of upsets on Wild-Card Weekend, but we don’t see abounding big upsets in the bounded round. After acquisition the Patriots in New England in the wild-card round, the Titans somehow defeated the best aggregation in the NFL in the Baltimore Ravens aftermost Saturday. Now, Derrick Henry and Co. are aloof one bold abroad from the Super Bowl.
They face off adjoin the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday, a aggregation that has not absent aback Anniversary 10 of the approved season. Do you apperceive who the aftermost aggregation to exhausted them was? Yep. The Titans. I covered that bold for CBS, and I’ll allotment my thoughts bottomward beneath on what I ahead happens this weekend.
As for the NFC ancillary of things, the Green Bay Packers biking out west to booty on Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers. Everyone wants to calculation out the Packers because they didn’t annals any absorbing regular-season wins and because the 49ers blew them out in Anniversary 12. Is it accessible we are counting out the Packers too quickly? This aggregation did go 13-3 and Aaron Rodgers is the alone quarterback larboard in the postseason who has won a Super Bowl.
Let’s jump in to my picks this week, and let’s alpha with the NFL’s Cinderella.
Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS), beck on CBS All Access Point spread: Chiefs -7.5
I was 100 percent assured that the Titans were activity to agitated the Patriots in the wild-card round, but I regrettably fell bashful aback Tennessee headed to Baltimore. While the Titans’ win in Foxborough was magical, I ahead abounding saw it advancing with how ailing the Patriots had played this year. I accept been watching the Titans carefully all season, and I did not apprehend them to exhausted the Ravens — abnormally by bifold digits.
I’m not abiding what added you can say about Henry. He rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown adjoin the Patriots and again 195 yards adjoin the Ravens. What’s alike bigger is that Ravens assurance Earl Thomas knew the Titans were activity to try to carbon their bold plan, agriculture Henry until he couldn’t run any more. Thomas poked fun at the Patriots for actuality aloof in arrest Henry, but still, Henry went off on the Ravens for alike added hasty yards than he put up adjoin the Patriots, and averaged 6.5 yards per carry. Is he unstoppable? I ahead so. He aloof became the aboriginal amateur aback 1950 to blitz for over 180 yards in three after amateur and additionally set an eight-game NFL hasty record.
When did his hot band absolutely begin? Funny you should ask, because it was adjoin the Chiefs in Anniversary 10. Henry rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in the 35-32 achievement over Kansas City aback in November, as the Chiefs had a adamantine time absolute the man who would end up hasty for added yards than anyone in 2019. The Chiefs accustomed an boilerplate of 128.2 hasty yards per bold in the approved season, which ranked No. 26 in the league. If Henry can attending like a Hall of Famer adjoin two of the best defenses in the NFL two weeks in a row, he should be in band for addition huge bold this Sunday. If Chiefs arresting accouterment Chris Jones can’t go because of his dogie injury, Kansas City would absolutely be in trouble.
On the casting side, while bodies may appetite to tab the Titans as the hottest aggregation in the league, in absoluteness it’s the Chiefs. They accept won added amateur in a row, and aback things got bearded in the bounded annular adjoin the Houston Texans, they didn’t flinch. Mahomes and Co. were bottomward 24-0 in the additional quarter, but battled aback and acquired a 28-24 halftime lead. If we abstruse annihilation from the Chiefs’ 51-31 win aftermost weekend, it’s that they accept the best atomic breach in the league. Everyone wants to allocution about Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but how about active aback Damien Williams? He had two hasty touchdowns and one accepting touchdown aftermost week, which fabricated him aloof the fourth amateur aback 1950 to accept two career postseason amateur with three or added touchdowns.
The Chiefs are apparently the best aggregation on cardboard actual in the postseason, but abominably they are active into a aggregation of afterlife in the appointment championship. If the Titans can exhausted the Patriots and Ravens on the road, I accept no acumen to accept they are activity to abatement to the Chiefs with aloof one bold until the Super Bowl. I’m acrimonious the Titans to accomplish it to the Super Bowl for the aboriginal time in 20 years — it’s bright they accept the favor of the football gods.
The pick: Titans 31-28 over Chiefs
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Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox), beck on fuboTV (Try for free)Point spread: 49ers -7.5
The Packers did abundant to acquire a first-round bye in the approved season, but it’s adamantine to balloon about their 37-8 accident to the 49ers in Anniversary 12. It’s article that 49ers admirers can point aback to that gives them aplomb branch into this weekend, but Packers arch drillmaster Matt LaFleur feels like his aggregation is abundant altered than it was in backward November. The 49ers racked up 339 absolute yards of breach in that bold while the Packers recorded aloof 198 yards. Green Bay’s accessory struggled to accommodate bound end George Kittle, who bent six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. On the casting side, the 49ers aegis was dominant, captivation the Packers to 1 of 15 on third downs while additionally burglary Rodgers a absolute of bristles times.
While the Packers’ 28-23 achievement over the Seattle Seahawks last anniversary didn’t absolutely get admirers aflame aback Green Bay was outscored 20-7 in the additional half, I ahead there was some acceptable we can booty abroad from the win. Rodgers looked abundant while throwing for 243 yards and two touchdowns, Aaron Jones was able on the arena with 62 yards and two touchdowns, and brilliant wideout Davante Adams was unstoppable — addled in eight catches for 160 yards and two scores. On the arresting ancillary of the ball, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith accumulated for four sacks and the Packers did a appropriate job aggravating to accommodate Russell Wilson on the ground.
This will be the aboriginal time Garoppolo and the 49ers are activated in the postseason, aback the Minnesota Vikings didn’t absolutely accord them abundant of a game. Still, it’s adamantine not to adulation this defense. Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead accomplish up what I ahead is the best arresting band in the NFL, and Richard Sherman has been abundant in arch this accessory as well. Alike admitting Garoppolo is amateur in the postseason, he has abundant aptitude about him on breach and a abundant aegis to aback him up. He has to feel assured with the acknowledging casting he has.
I brainstorm that this bold will be abundant afterpiece than bodies anticipate, but that the 49ers end up acceptable in the fourth quarter. I ahead I’m activity to put my money on Packers 7.5, however.
The pick: 49ers 27-21 over Packers
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