Championship Sunday is coming to us this weekend. The final step before the Super Bowl. A chance to get one step closer. On Sunday, the Lamar Hunt trophy is on the line for the winner of the AFC Championship game. The Kansas City Chiefs were in this game a year ago. The other team, the Tennessee Titans, has not made the AFC Championship since 2002. Both teams took different paths to get here. During the postseason, it does not matter how you got there. As a former basketball coach said, “Survive and Advance.” Each team hopes to survive one final week and play in Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs earned the two seed in the AFC with a 12-4 record. As a result, Kansas City got to take wild card weekend off. In the divisional round, the Chiefs fell behind 24-0 to the Houston Texans. With just under 11:00 minutes to go, Kansas City went on a scoring run. They scored 41 unanswered points and ultimately won the game 51-31. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdowns in the win. The victory gave the Chiefs their second straight appearance in the AFC Championship. Last year, Kansas City came up short to the eventual Super Bowl Champion, New England Patriots. New England defeated the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime. As a result, 2019 has been the season of redemption for the Chiefs. Kansas City hopes the road continues with a stop in Miami and Super Bowl 54.
The Titans sneaked into the AFC postseason as the six seed. Tennessee finished the season 9-7. Additionally, the Titans started 2019 with a record of 2-4. A midseason quarterback change has resulted in this turnaround. Backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill was given the keys to the offense in week seven, and they have not looked back. The Titans defeated their division rival, Houston Texans, in week 17 to clinch the final playoff spot in the AFC. As a result, Tennessee traveled to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. The Titans emerged victorious 20-13. There was no rest as the number one seeded Baltimore Ravens awaited in the divisional round.
Similarly, the Titans did not back down and emerged out of M&T Bank Stadium with a 28-12 win. Tennessee has gotten it done behind the steady rushing attack of Derrick Henry. The power run game paired with a passing game to keep defenses honest, hope to have continued success. Due to their wins, the Titans are the Cinderella of these playoffs. Tennessee hopes a stop at Arrowhead Stadium does not result in the clock striking midnight.
AFC Championship (Week 11 recap)
These two teams met back in week 11. On that day, the Titans walked out of Arrowhead Stadium with a 35-32 win. Tannehill and Henry accounted for four total touchdowns in the victory. The Titans took the lead with 23 seconds left when Adam Humphries caught the game-winning touchdown pass. Tennessee then proceeded to block the game-tying field goal to preserve the win. The Titans hope lightning will strike twice on Sunday, and they can continue their Cinderella run.
AFC Championship (History)
The AFC Championship has not been too kind to these teams. The Titans hold a 1-3 record in this game while the Chiefs are 0-2. The lone win for either team came in 1999 when the Titans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars. In addition to the 2002 loss, the Titans also lost twice to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 1979 and 1980, the Steelers won the AFC Championship over the Titans, who were the Houston Oilers at the time. Besides last year, the Chiefs lost the 1993 AFC Championship to the Buffalo Bills. Both teams are starving for an AFC Championship.
Moreover, these teams do not want to stop there. Each team hopes to cap off the season with raising that Lombardi Trophy. Who takes the final step? Tune in Sunday afternoon at 2:05 central on CBS to find out.
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