AFC Wildcard Preview: Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs.

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Saturday afternoon will feature the first of two AFC Wild Card Playoff Matchups.  The 5 seed, Tennessee Titans will travel to Kansas City, to take on the 4 seed, Chiefs. The Chiefs haven’t won a home playoff game in their last 5 attempts.  Tennessee has not qualified for postseason play since 2008.  Looks to me like this one has all the makings of a shitty Wild Card match-up.

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Tennesse Titans: 

The Titans are back in post season play for the first time since 2008.  That was a 13-10 loss at the expense of the Baltimore Ravens.  This season has been a bit of a roller coaster for them.  At times, Marcus Mariota looks flawless, and the Titans look like a real contender.  Other times, they look mediocre at best.  They finished the year with a 9-7 record.  The problem with the Titans is I don’t feel like they had any real signature wins this season.  Their best wins on paper were at home against Seattle in week 3, and at Houston in week 4.  Nothing to write home about.  The Titans Defense will have it’s handsfull with the Chiefs Offense.  They rank 17th in the NFL in points allowed (356), and 13th in yards allowed.  They have played a weak schedule as well.

Marcus Mariota was poised to take the proverbial “Next Step” in 2017, but has fallen short.

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WOOF.  Brutal season from the ex Oregon Duck.  Obviously, it’s the turnovers that present the largest concern.  Generally in the postseason, whoever wins the turnover battle, wins the game.  Mariota is going to have to make plays with his legs, along with his arm.  He is known for his ability to extend plays with his feet.  He did rush for 312 yards, and 5 rushing touchdowns on the year.  Personally, he sucks.  Look for him to look like shit.

Kansas City Chiefs:

Much like their opponent, the Chiefs have had an up-and-down 2017.  They started out looking the immediate Super Bowl Contenders beating the New England Patriots 42-27 on opening night.  Four more wins came at the expense of the Eagles, Chargers, Redskins, and Texans.  They were off to a 5-0 start, and we go a boat load of the “Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl Contenders” talk.

They would go on to lose 6 of their next 7 games.  The losses came at the hands of the Steelers, Raiders, Cowboys, Giants, Jets, and Bills.  They certainly showed their true colors.  They did finish the season with four wins in a row over the Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, and Dolphins.  All crap bag teams.

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Chiefs Quarterback, Alex Smith seems to be on borrowed time with Patrick Mahomes breathing down his neck.

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Still a solid year for Smith.  He doesn’t turn the ball over whatsoever.  This trait is vital, in the playoffs.  Ultimately, Smith’s ball protection will likely be the key too the game.  If Tennessee can force some turnovers, then they may be able to sneak out a win.

Smith will be looking to chuck the rock to Tyreek Hill, his speedy deep threat. Hill has 1,183 yards, 7 touchdowns in 2017.

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Kansas City has the league’s leading rusher at their disposal, in Kareem Hunt.  Hunt finished 2017 with 1,327 rushing yards, and 8 touchdowns.  Look for Hunt to make an impact running the ball, catching it in the passing game, and make an impact on special teams.

The Chiefs defense ranks 15th in the league in points allowed, and 28th in yards allowed.  Not quite the stout Kansas City Chiefs defense of years past.  However, they do have insane playmakers in Justin Houston, Marcus Peters, and Tamba Hali.

Final Verdict: 

Chiefs 21 – Titans 10

The Chiefs are just far too well rounded for the Titans, who just barely got in.  I don’t love the Chiefs going much further, but they’ll throw their fanbase a bone, and win a meaningless Wild Card game in 2018.

I leave you with a photo from the Chiefs last home playoff win:

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Wild Card Weekend Preview: Atlanta Falcons @ LA Rams

The Falcons managed to sneak their way into the playoffs with the 6 seed after beating the Panthers 22-10 behind Matt Bryant’s 5 FGs (thrilling game). They take a 10-6 regular season record and become the single NFC representative from last year’s playoffs — and bring it into the newly revitalized Los Angeles Rams. The Rams sat all of their starters last week and got blown out by the 49ers 34-13 but ended up with the 3 seed anyway with an 11-5 record and a NFC West championship.

The Rams boast an explosive young offense — but are they ready for primetime? The Falcons have had some struggles this season, largely in part to the loss of OC Kyle Shanahan. An offense, which rolls out Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Julio Jones is no longer a scary matchup. The Falcons though, know how to play in January as they will look to get back to the Super Bowl after the most crushing loss ever against the Patriots last year.


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QB – Matt Ryan vs Jared Goff

Goff had an outstanding year as he massively improved on a mediocre rookie year — but I’m rolling with Matty Ice. Sure, Ryan doesn’t have the stats that Goff did but this isn’t his first rodeo. I’d feel much more comfortable with the battle tested QB who managed to finish 10-6 after the worst possible way to lose a Super Bowl and the loss of his offensive coordinator.


Image result for freeman gurleyRB – Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman vs Todd Gurley

Honestly, Freeman & Coleman may be the best combo in football — that being said Todd Gurley may be the best back in football. No player benefited more from the new regime in LA than Gurley, who finished with 1305 yds and 13 TD on the ground. Adding 788 yards through receptions as well? Yeah, I’m putting my faith in the former Georgia standout. Give me Gurley over almost any back.


Image result for julio jones robert woodsWR/TE- Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, & Austin Hooper vs Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, & Cooper Kupp

Leaving out the Rams TE because I’ve never even heard of him to be honest. Any unit containing Julio Jones is probably going to win. Add Sanu to the mix? That’s a tough 1-2 punch to beat.


Image result for rams o lineO-Line- Atlanta vs Los Angeles

I’m not going to pretend I sat here and graded their lines. Give me the line that allowed Gurley to run wild behind it.

 

 


Image result for aaron donaldD-Line- Atlanta vs Los Angeles

Aaron Donald is everything JJ Watt wants to be. Give me the Rams here

 

 


Line Defense

As a matter of fact, give me the entire Rams defense over the Falcons. The Rams have gotten by on their offense but that defense is mean. Top 10 in turnovers created and #4 in sacks screams trouble for Matt Ryan and that offense.


Coaching – Dan Quinn vs Sean McVay

Dan Quinn is brought down here by Sarkisian’s complete inability to run an offense. McVay has given new life to a franchise. I’ll take the NFL’s youngest head coach the advantage here.


Score Prediction: 27- 20 Rams

I love the narrative of a Falcons team getting back to the Super Bowl here but I don’t think they have enough to keep up with the Rams. It’s hard not to like McVay to lead his team to at least one playoff victory here.