Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs – Saturday, January 6th, 2018 – 3:35PM kickoff
Tony: This might be the biggest mismatch of the first round of the playoffs. The Chiefs have had stretches of looking unbeatable and stretches of looking incapable, but there wasn’t any point in the season that I looked at the Titans and thought “That’s a playoff team.”
Andy: I suppose if anyone in this mediocre AFC field is going to disrupt the predestined Patriots-Steelers AFC Championship game, it’s going to be the Chiefs. The rest of the field is pretty mediocre in comparison. I will be picking the Chiefs. But your assessment assumes that the unbeatable Chiefs show up. If the incapable Chiefs resurface Saturday, Tennessee has a shot. DeMarco Murray is unlikely to play, giving the superior back, Derrick Henry, a chance to get the lion’s share of the carries against a deficient Kansas City defense. And, while he’s regressed this year, it’s not like Marcus Mariota hasn’t performed on the big stage before.
Tony: The same deficient defense that gave up 13-13-15 in the last three games of the season that mattered? They’re not the best defense in the league, but in Week 15 they held Phillip Rivers to 227-1-3, and Melvin Gordon to just 78 yards rushing–an offensive combination that I think most would rather have today then Mariota-Henry. Meanwhile, the Titans have a tough run defense (like the Chiefs), but the Chiefs can attack through the air with Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill, who I don’t think the Titans have an answer for. On the Titans side, other than Delanie Walker, I’m not sure I could name the Titans leading receiver.
Andy: Oh, I’m not saying I think the Titans are going to win – maybe not even keep it close. I was just stating that the Chiefs, statistically, have a lacking defense and that Tennessee *could* take advantage of it. That said, I think it’s the Chiefs game to lose.
Tony: I think they win big: Chiefs 27, Titans 13
Andy: Chiefs 30, Titans 17
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars – Sunday, January 7th, 2018 – 12:05 PM kickoff
Tony: The main reason I think the Chiefs/Titans matchup is the biggest mismatch of the postseason is more because I’m not willing to say that I think the Jaguars will clean up against the Bills, which seems to be the leading pick. Like the Titans, the Bills never looked like a playoff team this year–particularly with the Nathan Peterman experiment. But the Jaguars are a young team, that has also had its fair share of rough games. Their lack of playoff experience–and lack of a playoff atmosphere (where there will reportedly be a lot of Buffalo fans making the trek to Florida) could make it a more interesting game than most predict.
Andy: I agree, this is easily the worst match-up of the postseason, with one team in because it’s young and talented, but not consistently good yet and another that is in because, by rule, the AFC is required to field six playoff teams. I think this could be an ugly, low-scoring game that puts people to sleep. I’ll probably spend a good chunk of the game working. Jacksonville’s defense should remain great, especially if LeSean McCoy is limited or out. But I’m surprised at the spread in this one, given that both teams have question marks at QB and on offense as a whole.
Tony: The Jaguars defense definitely should win them this game–especially with the presence of veteran All-Pro Calais Campbell. But Blake Bortles alone makes them a hard team to put that much faith in. He was great when he was holding a lead this season, but unlike most seasons, when he excelled in garbage time, he was terrible this season when trailing–so if the Bills can figure out how to jump out to an early lead, it could spell doom for the Jags.
Andy: It could. But how do you figure Buffalo is going to get out to a lead? They won four out of nine games down the stretch coming in. Three of the four wins were against Miami twice and Indianapolis. The pass game is bad. The run game is going to be bad if McCoy can’t play. If I was betting this game, I’d be taking the under rather than betting on the spread.
Tony: Early pick 6 by the Bills defense? They aren’t a great unit, but they did score three defensive touchdowns this year, and Bortles did throw 5 of his 13 interceptions in the last two weeks of the season. And as great as the Jags defense is, they gave up 44 points to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16, including 130 yards and 3 TDs on the ground, and over 100 yards to the combination of Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle. Like you with the Titans, I’m not going to go out on a limb and predict a Bills win–I just don’t think it’s the laugher that most outside of Buffalo seem to expect.
Andy: Jaguars 16, Bills 3
Tony: I’ve got Jags 17, Bills 13.
Thoughts? Comments? Think we’re idiots? Let us know in the comments below.