Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs: Henry and Mahomes headline a classic

Kansas City Chiefs
Derrick Henry is crucial to the Titans tactics on Sunday

The AFC Championship Game sees the Kansas City Chiefs host the Derrick Henry inspired Titans. Ben Steele thinks this will be the end of the road for Tennessee, and recommends an 80/1 bet...

"The former Alabama product has 149 rushing yards or more in five of those eight games and has already torched the Chiefs once this season. His 188 yard, two touchdown performance was his breakout game and the catalyst for the strong end to the season that saw Tennessee sneak in to the playoffs."

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, 20:05 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Action

Mahomes revenge secures AFC crown

Last year Patrick Mahomes was forced to sit on the sideline and watch Tom Brady lead a masterful touchdown drive in overtime to knock the Kansas City Chiefs out of the playoffs. On Sunday night he will be determined to avoid consecutive AFC Championship game losses, and comes in to the game off the back of, arguably, the best performance of his career. Facing a 24-0 deficit early in the 2nd quarter Mahomes turned on the style, throwing for 321 yards and 5 touchdowns as the Chiefs stormed back to beat the Houston Texans 51-31.

Mahomes suffered a knee injury earlier in the season so the fact that, on top of the outstanding display with his arm, he also led his team in rushing is a positive sign for the Chiefs. Back to full fitness, the 24-year-old will look to match the numbers he put up in Week 10 against the Titans. While unable to run, Mahomes threw for a season high 446 yards but saw his team beaten as Joshua Kalu blocked a last second field goal. Given his previous success against Sunday's opponent, and his red hot form, I think the Chiefs' mercurial quarterback is a good bet to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

I backed the Chiefs to win the AFC earlier in the season and I'm not changing my mind now. Look for Mahomes to throw for Over 310.5 yards in a Kansas City victory.

Henry carries Titans hopes

While Mahomes has been excellent to close out the season, and is a huge part of the the reason the Chiefs are currently favourites to win the Super Bowl, there is nobody in better form than Titans running back Derrick Henry. Over his last eight games, Henry has rushed for 1,273 yards and 11 touchdowns at 6.2 yards per carry. Add to that the fact that he threw a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens last week and you've got a sensational run of form.

The former Alabama product has 149 rushing yards or more in five of those eight games and has already torched the Chiefs once this season. His 188 yard, two touchdown performance was his breakout game and the catalyst for the strong end to the season that saw Tennessee sneak in to the playoffs as sixth seed. In the playoffs, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has turned to his main man even more. Henry has carried the ball 64 times as the Titans huge offensive line has bullied both the Patriots and Ravens.
The Chiefs are a good defensive side, but I think it will take a bit of time for them to get used to Henry's style. Henry to score the first touchdown, at 6/1, is a tasty price.

The Chiefs' plan could well be to allow Henry to have his way but to contain the rest of the Titans offence and he'll be featured heavily whether the Titans are chasing the game, or trying to hold a lead. Tennessee's star to score in both halves is also a good bet.

Big score on the cards in Kansas City

With two great offences on display we should be in for a classic, as with Seattle vs Green Bay last week, we have a real contrast in styles. The ground game versus the all out air attack, the speed of the Chiefs versus the physicality of the Titans.

Travis Kelce and Damien Williams of the Chiefs will fancy their chances of performing well again. The pair combined for five touchdowns in last week's Texans rout, and their versatility should see feature heavily. On the other side, the Titans have rookie receiver A.J. Brown who has formed an instant connection with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, both men benefiting from the threat of Henry as the Titans run an outstanding play-action game.

However, despite the offensive powers the defences are both capable of producing big plays. Tennessee have forced four turnovers in the playoffs despite facing the greatest QB of all time, Tom Brady, and this year's consensus MVP Lamar Jackson.

Kansas, with Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark leading their defence have shutdown opponents on a regular basis. I'm expecting the game to be relatively high scoring, but it will have nothing on the madness at Arrowhead last week. I'll have a dart on a correct score for fun backing Kansas City to win 31-24 and advance to the Super Bowl.

Ben Steele NFL P/L:

Staked: 73 pts
Returned: 75.8 pts
P/L: +2.8 pts

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