After dispatching the defending champion New England Patriots last weekend in the wild card round, Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans will be looking to fry an even bigger fish when they visit Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in their AFC divisional round matchup on Saturday.
One day later, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will look to take care of business when they host Deshaun Watson and a Houston Texans team that escaped a great effort against Buffalo in their AFC wild card clash last weekend.
With both highly intriguing matchups offering a ton of value, let’s find out which teams are most likely to advance to the AFC Championship.
2020 AFC Divisional Round Odds, Preview & Predictions
Tennessee Titans (10-7) at Baltimore Ravens (14-2)
- When: Saturday January 11, 2020, 8:15 PM ET
- Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
- TV: CBS
- Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
- NFL Divisional Round Odds: Baltimore -9.5 / Total: 48
Ryan Tannehill and the Titans upset Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots 20-13 last weekend as Derrick Henry had a phenomenal game by rushing for 182 yards and one score to lead the way to victory. Tannehill added a touchdown pass in the win while safety Logan Ryan returned a Brady pass for another score with nine seconds remaining in regulation.
Sure-fire league MVP Lamar Jackson and top-seeded Baltimore are well-rested after getting a bye in the opening round. The Ravens posted a league-high 14 wins in the regular season and enter the postseason riding the wave of an emphatic 10-game winning streak. More importantly, Jackson has a campaign for the ages by passing for 3,127 yards with a league-high 36 touchdown tosses and just and six interceptions while setting a new single season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,206).
While Tennessee finished 10th in scoring (25.1 ppg) and a solid 12t in points allowed (20.7 ppg), Baltimore led the league in scoring by putting up a stellar 33.2 points per game while also ranking third in points allowed (17.6 ppg). While Tennessee has gone a perfect 4-0 ATS in their last four road games and 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games against their AFC counterparts, Baltimore has gone 7-0 ATS in their last seven games against their conference rivals, 7-1 ATS in their last eight playoff games and 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.
More importantly, I didn’t like the way Ryan Tannehill played against the Patriots defense in the second half and I believe Baltimore is going to harass him into an even worse performance in this contest. I like Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel and his team’s solid defense, but no one has been able to figure out a way to contain Lamar Jackson and at this point, I’m fairly certain it’s no longer possible. I’m not super fond of the high points spread, but I’m going to back Baltimore to get the double-digit win to cover it!
Pick: Baltimore 31 Tennessee 21
Houston Texans (11-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
- When: Sunday January 12, 2020, 3:05 PM ET
- Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
- TV: CBS
- Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
- NFL Divisional Round Odds: Kansas City -9.5 / Total: 49
Houston managed to get past Buffalo 22-19 in an overtime thriller in the wild card round as star quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 247 yards and one score while making a mind-boggling game-changing play in OT to lead the Texans to the win. Watson had a stellar regular season by passing for 3,852 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had 1,165 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Houston closed out the regular season ranked 14t in scoring (23.6 ppg), but the Texans also allowed more points per game than they put on the board by giving up 24.1 points per contest to rank 19th in points allowed.
Kansas City went 12-4 in the regular season to win the AFC West and the Chiefs hit the playoffs riding the wave of a six-game winning streak. Reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes passed for 3,857 yards with 25 TD passes and just four interceptions.
Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce led all Chiefs receivers with 1,205yards and five touchdowns. The Chiefs finished the regular season ranked fifth in scoring (28.2 ppg) while also ranking an encouraging seventh in points allowed (19.3 ppg).
While I absolutely love Houston’s Deshaun Watson and I believe he’s almost as good as any quarterback in the league, the fact of the matter is that the Texans rely far too heavily on their superstar leader to make plays. Houston struggles to pass the ball when Watson can’t hook up with star wideout Deandre Hopkins and I believe Kansas City’s improved defense will focus on shutting down Watson’s No. 1 target.
On the other side of the ball, Houston’s mediocre defense doesn’t have much chance of slowing Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs offense that is clearly firing on all cylinders heading into the playoffs. Kansas City also limited five of their last six opponents to 17 points or less and that means Houston’s one-trick offense is going to be hard-pressed to find the end zone in this matchup.
While Houston has gone 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as a road underdog, the Texans are also just 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win and 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win. Conversely, Kansas City has gone a near-perfect 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games, 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games against their AFC counterparts and 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 home games. I’ve got Mahomes and the Chiefs winning big to cover the chalk as a nearly double-digit home favorite.
Pick: Kansas City 35 Houston 23