During the Wild Card round, all three home favorites emerged victorious on the AFC side. With the Tennessee Titans returning to action, the four best teams in the conference go at it this weekend for a spot in the AFC Championship Game.
According to the latest NFL odds, the Kansas City Chiefs are favored to win the conference. The Chiefs are currently at +165 to make the Super Bowl. The Buffalo Bills are +225, Tennessee is +325, and the Cincinnati Bengals are +550.
Which teams will emerge victorious in the divisional round and make the 2021 AFC Championship? Here are some predictions.
Tennessee (-3.5) vs. Cincinnati
Here are the game details you need to know:
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 22
- Time: 4:30 P.M. EST
- Venue: Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN
Tennessee enters well-rested, fresh off of a first-round bye. Star running back Derrick Henry is expected to return, which should give a massive boost to what is already a top-five rushing attack. The Titans average 141.4 yards per game.
While the Bengals have the seventh-ranked run defense (102.5 YPG), they have been trending in the wrong direction. The Bengals have allowed 154.3 yards over their last three games. Expect them to have their hands full against arguably the best running back in the league.
The Titans have the 25th-ranked passing attack (201.1 YPG). However, they should get another jolt, with Julio Jones and A.J. Brown both finally healthy.
Tennessee also boasts a top-six scoring defense that concedes just 20.8 points per game. The Titans can create pressure, averaging 2.5 sacks per game (ranked ninth). That’s more bad news for the Bengals, who have struggled to protect Joe Burrow all season, allowing the third-highest sack total in the league.
I expect the Titans to make a statement this weekend and progress to the AFC title game.
Buffalo (+1.5) vs. Kansas City
Here are the details you need to know for this game:
- Date: Sunday, Jan. 23
- Time: 6:30 P.M. EST
- Venue: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO
Both offenses put on an absolute clinic in the Wild Card round, but Buffalo was historically good. The Bills scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions before kneeling to end the game.
Quarterback Josh Allen has played exceptionally well over the past six games, throwing for 15 touchdown passes and rushing for three more. The Bills are averaging 32.3 points per game over that stretch and have won five consecutive games.
Both teams appear to be evenly matched offensively, with the Bills ranked third (29.4 PPG) and the Chiefs ranked fourth (29.0 PPG), but the Bills have the more balanced advantage with a top-10 passing and rushing attack.
The Bills have the top-ranked scoring defense (17 PPG) and passing defense (165.9 yards per game). In a game with all the makings of a shootout, the Bills defense appears more capable of getting a key stop, which could make the difference.
Going against Patrick Mahomes is always tricky, but this Bills team appears to be peaking at the right time. I expect them to continue their offensive dominance and do just enough on defense to advance to the AFC championship.
AFC Championship Game
No matter who advances, the AFC Championship Game will feature two of the best teams in the conference and many elite offensive players.
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