Super Bowl Sunday is rapidly approaching. However. before that, we have four teams vying to get to the big game. Championship Sunday is next up and we have two somewhat lopsided spreads to breakdown. Both the Chiefs and 49ers are sitting just north of a touchdown favorite and they get to host their respective games against Tennessee and Green Bay. The Super Bowl will be a massive betting and DFS opportunity thanks to Showdown becoming so popular and we will certainly have you covered with everything you need to know for NFL Picks and breakdowns. In the meantime, let’s look at some NFL picks for Championship weekend.
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Championship Sunday Playoff Schedule
Sunday 3:05 p.m. EST: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs -7.5, O/U 53
Sunday 6:40 p.m. EST: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers -7.5, O/U 45
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
The first game up is the AFC Championship game with the Titans traveling to Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs. While both teams are riding hot streaks, their avenues to getting here were drastically different.
The Titans have been the surprise of the postseason and certainly made the most noise during last week’s game. Coming off the win at New England, they went to Baltimore as a 10-point underdog and weren’t given much of a chance by anyone. Not only did they manage to win the game 28-12, but they dominated from start to finish. Certainly they benefited from the Ravens’ inability to finish drives deep in Titans territory, but the league has now taken notice of how Tennessee operates.
The first guy to mention is Derrick Henry, who is in uncharted territory right now. He ran for 195 yards on 30 carries last week against the Ravens and now has three straight games of 180-plus yards rushing, two of which were in the playoffs. His ability to wear defenses down makes Ryan Tannehill’s job that much easier and the entire Titans offense effective. The Ravens actually had been solid against the run while the Chiefs have struggled, so who knows where Henry might end up after this week. If the Titans fall behind, they could have issues as they do not have a prolific passing game, but this is still a competent offense with a clear identity.
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On the other side, most expected the Chiefs to roll over the Texans and if you saw the final score without watching the game, it seemed like business as usual. That couldn’t be further from the truth as Houston went up 24-0 before blowing the lead before halftime. Patrick Mahomes was his usual fantastic self, throwing for 321 yards and five touchdowns against the Texans secondary. That game showed how quickly the Chiefs offense can score and most would project them to reach their 30-point implied total.
Tennessee continues to defy the odds and at this point, everyone realizes they are for real. They want to control tempo with long drives and wear down defenses late in the game with Henry. The Titans have done a great job of leading or staying close which has allowed them to employ this run-heavy script. Plus, they are dominating in the red zone in terms of touchdown-field goal ratio. Both teams aren’t going to be in a rush despite Kansas City having a quick-strike offense. I think this leads to a slower-paced, ground-heavy game rather than a shootout. With the total a healthy 53 points, I’ll lean with the under and hope Tennessee dictates the style.
My Pick: Under 53
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
NFC Conference Championship game is a rematch between the Packers and the 49ers. These two met earlier in the season and it wasn’t competitive with San Francisco running the Packers out of the stadium by the score of 37-8.
San Francisco opened their playoff campaign with an impressive win last week against the Vikings. The game exactly followed a 49ers blueprint with domination up front on defense and the offense dispersing production between a myriad of weapons. Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have to do much and was just 11-for-19 for 131 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The running game was a huge factor in taking the pressure of Garoppolo and San Francisco’s versatility makes them difficult to exploit. Also, they got a number of significant players back on defense and recorded six sacks against Kirk Cousins last week.
Green Bay also had a home game last week against Seattle. The Packers led throughout, but Seattle rallied late and had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth. But Green Bay made the stops when they needed to and Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams early and often: eight times for 160 yards and to touchdowns, to be exact. Aaron Jones scored twice last week, but he was limited to just 62 yards on 21 carries on the ground. The 49ers front is tough and shut down Dalvin Cook last week, but the Packers probably need some more balance this week.
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To me, the key to this game is Green Bay forcing Garoppolo to beat them. That means not allowing San Francisco to dictate script defensively and with their running game. If the Packers can at least force San Francisco to throw, I think they will have an opportunity since they can force turnovers — they were seventh in takeaways this year. And, obviously, they still have Rodgers under center. If Garoppolo’s attempts remain low, it will be difficult for Green Bay to score as San Francisco’s defense is good at avoiding long drives and big plays.
I believe Green Bay is equipped to force Garoppolo into trouble and force some interceptions. The first meeting got out of hand quickly and took Green Bay away from an effective running game. As in the AFC, if this game stays close, I favor Green Bay by the simply fact they have the better quarterback. In terms of the spread, I grabbed some 7.5 since that half point is key, and I may look to add to this live as I think Green Bay’s opening quarter will be telling.
My Pick: Packers +7.5
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Good Luck everyone!