On Sunday, the Titans and Chiefs will battle for a spot in Super Bowl LIV. For the Titans, it would be their first trip to the NFL title game in 20 years and their second time in the Super Bowl ever. For the Chiefs, it would mean their third trip to the Super Bowl but the first in 50 years, when they won the NFL title in the year prior to the AFL merging with the NFL.
The Chiefs come into the matchup on a seven-game winning streak, but even though they’re the favorite to advance, making the Super Bowl will be anything but easy. Just ask Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who has made it to the conference title game six times in his career with Kansas City and Philadelphia, but has broken through just once and still seeks his first Super Bowl win.
The Titans have managed just three straight wins, but those all came on the road against AFC division winners behind the bulldozing effort of Derrick Henry. They’ll have the chance to make it 4 for 4 on Sunday, and beating every AFC division winner in the span of a month would mean a return trip to Miami for Ryan Tannehill to play the Super Bowl in the stadium where he spent the first seven years of his career.
Below, you’ll find info on how to watch the game along with what you need to know about the opening and current lines. Then, you’ll see our CBSSports.com expert picks, along with some analysis from some of our writers and SportsLine analysts. And be sure to check out the Pick Six Podcast (subscribe here!) as Pete Prisco, Will Brinson and I go deep into all the picks.
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Titans at Chiefs
- Time: Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS), stream on CBS All Access
- Open: Chiefs -7, O/U 51
- Current: Chiefs -7, O/U 53
Chiefs win and cover
“The Tennessee defense will be challenged in a big way by Mahomes and his fleet of speedy receivers, add in tight end Travis Kelce and it’s an even bigger challenge. I just can’t see the Titans slowing Mahomes, who is now healthy. If the game starts getting away from the Titans, it will hurt them in terms of getting Henry going. That’s exactly what I think will happen. The Titans won’t keep up. The Chiefs, behind another big day from Mahomes, will go to their first Super Bowl in 50 years.” — Pete Prisco on
“The Titans beat the Chiefs earlier this season despite trailing early in the game … Derrick Henry would finish with 188 rushing yards and the Titans would win on a crazy last-second field goal block. What’s notable about that game is they trailed multiple times, so we know they can potentially come back as well. If the Titans are up 24-0 I don’t know that the Chiefs come back from it; I definitely don’t think they come back before halftime to take the lead. My problem is I know what the Chiefs have the capability of doing on offense. And I think that 24-0 lead to Houston might have changed things with Andy Reid. … After a season of powerhouse football, some playoff upsets happened and they just need to beat the top half of the AFC South to give Reid a shot at his first Super Bowl title. When things went south, they got aggressive and I believe they’ll be aggressive here. — Will Brinson on
“There is not a throw that exists that Mahomes cannot make, and there are very few throws that he will not make. Back foot, rolling right, rolling left, across the body, wrong hand. He’ll try — and more than likely complete — anything and everything. A player like Mahomes is the reason the cliche, “You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him” exists. So, how can the Titans contain him? First and foremost, the way to do this is to get pressure, especially up the middle. If the Chiefs’ offensive line has a weakness, it’s not on the edges, where Mitchell Schwartz is arguably the best right tackle in the league and Eric Fisher has developed into a very solid bookend on the left side. Attacking Austin Reiter, Stefen Wisniewski, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the way to go. Tennessee’s interior group of Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson, and Jeffery Simmons absolutely dominated the Ravens up front last week, and they’ll need a similar performance from those guys if they’re going to bother Mahomes at all.” — Jared Dubin, , in his in-depth preview of the game
“The Chiefs have the best quarterback on the planet, a defense that is nothing like the defense that cost them a spot in last season’s Super Bowl, and they’re at home. I think they’re going to pick up where they left off last weekend and open up a big lead over the Titans, and the Titans won’t be able to hang. I’ll take the Chiefs to win and cover the seven-point spread. The Chiefs, by the way, are 11-5-1 against the spread, including 4-2-1 when they’re favored by seven points or more.” — Sean Wagner-McGough on
Who wins Titans vs. Chiefs? And what critical X-factor makes one side a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you should be all over, all from the expert who’s 22-11 on picks involving Tennessee or Kansas City.
Titans win and cover
“The Chiefs are now favored by 7.5 points over the Titans, despite the fact that Tennessee beat them 35-32 in the regular season. Over the past five years, there have been a total of seven AFC or NFC championship games that were rematches from the regular season. The team that won the first time has gone 6-1 in the title game rematch, and the only win in that span came by the Rams, who got the benefit of the worst pass interference no-call in the history of sports. This is ostensibly good news for both the Titans and 49ers. I didn’t make an official count last week, but I think I might have been one of maybe four media members in the country who picked the Titans to upset the Ravens, and guess what everyone, I’m going to ride the Tennessee upset train for one more week, and I’ll be riding it to South Breech … err … South Beach, because that’s where the Titans will be headed if they win the game.” — John Breech on
“The Chiefs are probably the best team on paper remaining in the postseason, but unfortunately they are running into a team of destiny in the conference championship. If the Titans can beat the Patriots and Ravens on the road, I have no reason to believe they are going to fall to the Chiefs with just one game until the Super Bowl. I’m picking the Titans to make it to the Super Bowl for the first time in 20 years — it’s clear they have the favor of the football gods.” — Jordan Dajani on
“This Tennessee squad is built to beat a team like the Chiefs. First, K.C. has struggled against the run for the bulk of the year, which should be looked at promisingly for Derrick Henry. The Titans back have been other-worldly, averaging nearly six yards a carry this postseason on 377 total yards rushing over the past two games. If he can continue to find success on the ground, the Titans could take a page out of the Indianapolis Colts‘ book in their win over the Chiefs in Week 5 where they rushed 45 times for 180 yards and dominated time of possession. Keeping Patrick Mahomes off the field will be critical and Tennessee has the tools to get that done. When they do have to go head-to-head with Mahomes, the Titans defense has recently been able to bend, but not break. This playoffs, Tennessee has been stout in the red zone as New England and Baltimore’s offense were a combined 2 of 7 in the red zone. As long as that trend continues and they limit K.C. to field goals, it should result in a trip to Miami for Tennessee.” — Tyler Sullivan on
Legendary NFL handicapper Hammerin’ Hank Goldberg is on an 18-6 run with his best bets, and he’s back with more for the conference title games. One pick he loves is Over 53 in this matchup, and you can get his ATS picks for both games over at SportsLine.
Chiefs win, Titans cover
“Derrick Henry … has been a one-man wrecking crew; his bulldozing alone should have K.C. on edge entering Sunday’s rematch. If Tennessee is smart, it’ll stick to the script and keep pounding away in the trenches. The Chiefs are vulnerable against the run, and with interior star Chris Jones still nursing an injury, they could have trouble controlling the clock and owning the time-of-possession game against Mike Vrabel’s squad. All that said, it’s awfully hard to watch Andy Reid’s offense and feel great betting against Patrick Mahomes and Co. We obviously said the same thing in 2018, when the Chiefs lost a home AFC title game to New England, but it’s not as if K.C. was blown out then. Reid is never immune to big-game hiccups (see: clock management), but he’s also got the most dynamically armed quarterback in football — the same one fresh off a five-touchdown showcase at Arrowhead.” — Cody Benjamin on
The SportsLine Projection Model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up over $7,000 for $100 players on its top-rated NFL picks since its inception four-plus years ago. Its biggest edge in this game comes on the total, with one side cashing in 58% of simulations. See the model’s spread, total and moneyline plays only at SportsLine.
Finally, here are the arguments for each side of the spread from my:
Why to take Titans
- Yards per play and weighted DVOA say these teams are closer than line suggests
- Titans’ run offense can exploit Chiefs’ defensive weakness (No. 29 in DVOA)
- Titans won regular-season meeting in Chiefs’ worst rush defense game of year
Why to take Chiefs
- Chiefs 6-0-1 ATS in last seven, have dominated since Week 12 bye
- Chiefs’ pass offense can exploit Titans’ defensive weakness (No. 21 in DVOA)
- Chiefs’ poor rush defense tightened up after Titans loss, allowing 94.9 rush yards/game since