Daily Dr. Roto — January 17, 2020
Conference Championship Weekend Analysis
AFC — Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
30 and 150. Those will be the two numbers that should ensure the Titans a trip to Miami for the Super Bowl. RB Derrick Henry will need to have 30 rushing attempts for 150 rushing yards if the Titans want to have any chance to pull off the upset on the road in Kansas City. If the Titans offensive line can win the battle upfront, it will allow them to control the clock, shorten the game, and keep Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes off the field.
20 and 150. Those two numbers might also be equally crucial for the Titans. If QB Ryan Tannehill has fewer than 20 passing attempts for less than 150 yards, it means that their running game was successful and that they are passing at their leisure. They don’t need to have many passing attempts—just a few downfield to give them a chance to score.
The Chiefs defense needs to bear down and stop Henry. Chiefs DL Chris Jones is questionable this week with an injury, but his presence would be a boon to the defensive front. Everyone in Arrowhead Stadium knows exactly what the Titans want to do on offense, so there should be no surprises for the Chiefs defense. The simple question is , “Can they stop the Titans?”
The Chiefs have a significant advantage on offense. WR Tyreek Hill is a mismatch in coverage against CB Adoree Jackson, and WR Sammy Watkins should have his way with CB Logan Ryan. Titans LB Jayon Brown is hoping to return for this game, which is critical since he might be the only Titans LB who is fast enough to cover Chiefs TE Travis Kelce in single coverage.
The Titans can be beaten in their secondary, so another key to the game will be the effectiveness of the Chiefs’ offensive line against the Titans defensive line. If the Chiefs OL can give Mahomes time to throw, he should be able to pick the Titans defense apart.
Prediction: The Chiefs get out to an early lead, and the Titans are forced to play a different style of game that doesn’t suit them. Mahomes throws for 300+ passing yards and 3 TDs as the Chiefs win 31-20.
NFC — Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers
A lot of credit needs to go to the Green Bay Packers’ front office. This past offseason, they not only hired a new head coach in Matt LaFleur, and they also completely revamped their defense. DC Mike Pettine has installed a blitzing, attacking mindset, which has helped this team immensely. Specifically, LBs Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith have created havoc on the edge, providing a terrific pass rush for the Packers.
The Packers’ defense needs the game of their lives if they want to beat the 49ers. What makes the 49ers so special is how well they run the football. They don’t use only one RB either—the 49ers use a three-headed monster with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert. If the 49ers establish the run and get about 35 carries or so (split between the three backs), this could be a comfortable victory for them.
For the Packers to have any chance to win, they will need to limit the 49ers running game as much as possible and force the 49ers into third and short situations. Then they can use their blitzing pressure to force 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo into making bad throws, giving them a chance to win the game.
What makes the 49ers especially dangerous is not only are they deep on offense, they are deep on defense as well. They rotate players on the DL and always seem to put incredible pressure on the opposing QB. 49ers rookie DL Nick Bosa will be responsible for being in Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ face all game long and giving him as little time to throw as possible.
Luckily, the Packers have three of the best offensive players in the NFL: Rodgers. He has a Super Bowl ring on his resume and knows what it takes to get his team to the big game. RB Aaron Jones has finally had the chance to be the full-time starter and has scored 21 TDs on the season. Additionally, WR Davante Adams is one of the top WRs in football and has had three 100+ yard receiving games out of his last four contests. For the Packers to have any chance to win, Jones will need 100+ rushing yards and a TD and Adams will need 100+ receiving yards and a TD. The bigger problem, however, is that the Packers don’t have any offensive weapons to rely on outside of Jones and Adams. In the absence of someone else stepping up, this game could spiral out of control.
Prediction: 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the brightest offensive minds in the game. He is also one of the best play-callers in the NFL. The 49ers will have many tricks up their sleeve on both offense and defense and will keep the Packers in check. Look for the 49ers to win 30-17.