DIVISIONAL ROUND RECORD: 1-3
(picks in CAPS)
TENNESSEE +7½ at Kansas City
This game doesn’t figure to play out like the last time these two met on Nov. 10, a 35-32 Titans win when they were 4-5 and Patrick Mahomes was coming off a knee injury. It also won’t mirror last week’s games: KC won’t dig itself a hole by giving up a blocked punt for a TD and muffing a punt to set up another score, then roar back against a team that couldn’t control the clock and forgot how to play defense; Tennessee won’t shut down Mahomes like they did the not-ready-for-prime-time Lamar Jackson. What will remain the same is that Mahomes will spread the ball around to the best receiver corps in the NFL and Titans will rely on Derrick Henry, who should still get his yards despite Chiefs keying on him. That could allow Ryan Tannehill to make enough plays to keep it close. Chiefs have the overall talent edge (even with Travis Kelce a little gimpy), and that should be enough to prevail here, though not by more than this generous number, particularly with frigid weather expected (a good reason to consider the under, too).
GREEN BAY +7½ at San Francisco
Similarly, hard to see this one playing out like the first meeting, a 37-8 Niners shellacking on Nov. 24, the only time in a 6-game streak Green Bay allowed more than 16 points. Aaron Rodgers spent most of that game on the run and the Pack were an abysmal 1-for-15 on third downs. Feeling is Green Bay will make adjustments and put up at least 20 to 24 points here, which means SF will probably need to score in the 30s to cover. Niners are for real, but this is Jimmy Garoppolo’s first conference title game and I am leaning toward the grizzled veteran to make this one close, if not win outright. Note that before last week’s domination of Vikings, SF was 0-6-1 ATS as a favorite of 6 points or more (they were 3-point chalk vs. Packers in November).