The NFL playoffs kick-off this weekend and they open up with Tennessee's trip to Kansas City. Neil Monnery previews the match-up of the four and five seeds in the AFC...
'Alex Smith needs to just do what he does, take care of the ball and give Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce the opportunities to go and make plays.'
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday 6 January, 21:30
TV: Live on Sky Sports Action, Mix and Main Event
For the Titans...
Two teams making the playoffs from the AFC South seemed fanciful at the start of the campaign but Tennessee join Jacksonville in playing on wildcard weekend. The Titans backed in despite losing three of their last four.
What the visitors need is for Marcus Mariota to have the game of his life if they are to pull off the upset. The former Heisman Trophy winner has struggled in 2017 after two respectable campaigns to start his professional career. When your starting QB has thrown more interceptions than touchdown passes, you have a problem.
He can call upon the services of his successor at being named the best player in college football, Derrick Henry. The running back out of Alabama has struggled recently having not averaged more than 3.1 yards/carry in the past month. DeMarco Murray has been getting the lion's share of plays at running back in recent weeks and therein lies the problem, he's out with a knee injury.
Losing the former Dallas Cowboy is a big blow considering they have to play near perfect football to win this game. Without Murray picking up the slack and pounding it down the Chiefs' throats, this looks like a week too far for Tennessee.
For the Chiefs...
A season very much split into three parts for Andy Reid's men. They started off looking like the best team in football. An opening night win at New England showed off all the speed and skill they had in key offensive positions.
This though was followed up by spending six weeks looking like they didn't even know what a football was. After dropping to 6-6, the season could have unravelled but four straight impressive wins later and they are the most dangerous team in the AFC.
Alex Smith needs to just do what he does, take care of the ball and give Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce the opportunities to go and make plays. All three are outstanding players, when you have that strong of a supporting cast, you don't need to be a superhero.
On the face of it this is a clunker of a game. Kansas City should win by double digits.
The line has been set at Kansas City -8. As I've just stated I think on paper they should be a double digit favourite, my pick is clear. When you throw in DeMarco Murray's injury, I really think KC roll big. Chiefs-8 at [1.97] on the Exchange.
Points-wise the line has been set at 44.5. This seems in the ballpark. I'm struggling in seeing Tennessee scoring too many so to go over, we probably need the home team to score upwards of 30. I'm not willing to go that high on them. Unders is my play at [1.84] on the Exchange.
On the side markets, most of the prices in the first TD market are about what you'd expect. Albert Wilson is up at 14/1 which is a spot of value as he's set to start despite concerns over a tight hamstring.