Divisional Weekend Review
The Divisional weekend in the NFL was everything that makes people fall in love with the sport. Unpredictability and exciting comebacks across the weekend. With the Divisional Round over, we move into the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games. We called the winner of 3 out of the 4 games last week and you can check that out here.
Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens suffered a complete upset to the Titans. Their lowest scoring game all season for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson had a poor first quarter but overall still put in a solid performance that was overshadowed by some bad luck and just falling short at some crucial points. The Ravens were 8/8 on 4th down and 1 yard all season but managed to go 0/2 in a single game. The comparison of the Ravens to the 2007 Patriots is more similar now as they also fell short in the postseason.
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Houston Texans were the second favourites coming in to the game against the Chiefs on Sunday. However, after the first quarter, the Texans were up 24-0 and looked like they could keep Kansas on the back foot. The Chiefs were shaky in the first quarter and made plenty of mistakes which Houston capitalised on. The second quarter rolled in and after the field goal for the Texans, a switch flipped for Kansas. Houston started to show their defensive weaknesses alongside a few mistakes mixed with bad calls. The Chiefs managed to turn it around and come away with a 51-31 victory.
Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers
The Minnesota Vikings just couldn’t put the challenge up to San Francisco. A 17-point defeat for the Vikings. Kirk Cousins failed to find any solutions to the 49ers defence. Throughout the whole game Minnesota never looked good enough to take it to San Francisco. The Vikings struggled for first downs, punted the ball 6 times and suffered 2 turnovers. An average of 3.3 yards per play for Minnesota is the lowest in a playoff game since 2017.
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
Seahawks were the final team to be eliminated from the postseason. They suffered a 5-point defeat to the Green Bay Packers. Seattle put in a strong postseason effort with a banged-up roster. Marshawn Lynch ran 12 for 26 which makes it difficult for Seattle to drive the ball forward. The Seahawks just fell short of not having enough quality. It has been an impressive run for a team who have been struggling with injuries for the last several weeks. If Seattle can get healthy and have a good draft, it is possible they will be back next season.
AFC Conference Championship
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 19th January, 8.05 PM
The Titans travel to the Chiefs for the AFC Conference Championship. The two most surprising games from last weekend. We saw the Titans get a shock victory against the number 1 seed in the conference. In comparison, the Chiefs came back from 24-0 at the start of the second quarter to win 51-31.
Ryan Tannehill may look light on the stats, yet another great performance from the comeback QB. He threw a marvellous 45-yard touchdown pass to Kalif Raymond after a 4th and 1 turnover. The Titans forced three turnovers against Baltimore but never turned it over once. Tennessee managed to choose every right option on the night. The Titans star player in the postseason is Derrick Henry. Henry finished with 195 rushing yards and even a touchdown pass, he is the first player in NFL history to have over 175 rushing yards in two games in the same postseason.
The Chiefs first quarter was abysmal. It came down to mistakes all over the field. Offence, defence and special teams all played a part in the reason that Kansas was in such a deep hole. A key turning point for many in the game is when the Texans kicked for a field goal on fourth and 1 instead of trying to go 28-0. Any decision that Bill O’Brien might change now may not have made a difference against the superior Chiefs offence. Kansas scored 7 unanswered touchdowns in 7 possessions. Patrick Mahomes stood up the plate throwing for 321 yards and 5 touchdowns. Travis Kelce also took in 10 receptions for 134 yards, he also got 3 TDs in the 2nd quarter.
Going into this game the Kansas City Chiefs are favourites to win and are 50/51 against the spread (-7.5). After great offensive performances by both teams in last weekends games suggests value in backing over 51.5 points at 10/11 on GiveMeBet. The Chiefs can’t afford to make the same mistakes against the Titans in this match. Also, the Titans are dripping in confidence after away wins against the Patriots and Ravens. Being on the road constantly might take its toll and this game will be tight. We think that the Chiefs will walk away with a tight victory in the Conference Championship but back the Titans (+7.5) at 50/57 on GiveMeBet.
NFC Conference Championship
Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers, Sunday 19th January, 11.40 PM
San Francisco has been consistently performing all season with their defeats coming at the final moments of matches. The last time these two sides met the 49ers controlled the game defeating the Packers 37-8 at the Levi Stadium. Green Bay will be eager to forget the result and focus on playing their best this Sunday. The Packers were leading 28-10 in the 3rd quarter against Seattle and done enough to see out a 5-point victory.
Aaron Rodgers completed 16 passes out of 27 for a total of 2 TDs and 243 yards against Seattle. The Packers had a dynamic defensive display in the first half limiting the Seahawks to just 1 field goal. The Seahawks decided to punt the ball late in the fourth quarter not realising it would be their final possession of the game. Green Bay will have to improve for their game against San Francisco. Aaron Rodgers will likely receive more pressure from the 49ers adjustable and powerful defence.
The Vikings had no answer to San Francisco during the weekend. The Vikings only got 7 first downs, this is tied the second-lowest in NFL playoff history. The 49ers had 21 first downs, ran the ball 47 times and rushed for 187 yards. The Vikings only had 21 rushing yards and their total offence only came to 147 yards. This is reminiscent of the strength of the 49ers defence at the start of the season. If San Francisco can put out a similar performance against the Packers, they will be playing in the Super Bowl.
San Francisco is the stronger team on paper and are favourites to win this game. San Francisco is 25/27 against the spread (-7) on GiveMeBet. The Packers are no doubt going to be a different side than the last time they faced off against the 49ers. We still believe San Francisco are a stronger side and with a full defensive roster, they are going to keep the Packers score low while tagging a few TDs on the board. We recommend backing the 49ers against the spread to go all the way and clinch the NFC Conference Championship.
Super Bowl Outrights
Kansas City Chiefs 27/20
San Francisco 49ers 6/4
Green Bay Packers 11/2
Tennessee Titans 15/2