The Kansas City Chiefs came up one win short of advancing to the Super Bowl a year ago, denied by the New England Patriots in a heartbreaking overtime defeat. The second-seeded Chiefs attempt to take that next step in front of their home fans when they square off with the sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon in the AFC Championship Game.
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Kansas City earned a return trip to the title game with a scintillating performance last weekend, erasing a 24-point deficit in a 51-31 blowout of Houston -- its seventh straight victory since a 26-23 loss at Tennessee in Week 10. "This was a great win but we have to put this behind us," Chiefs running back Damien Williams said after his team scored touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions against the Texans. "We have a tough team coming in here so we have to stay locked in and finish what we started." Bruising back Derrick Henry and the Titans are trying to run the gauntlet and take out the top three teams in the AFC while bidding to become the third No. 6 seed to advance to the Super Bowl -- and first since Green Bay in 2010. "Why change with what we've been doing?" said Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel, who has guided his teams to road wins at New England and top-seeded Baltimore. "I don't think it will change much. The formula for us in January is to run the football, stop the run and get turnovers."
TIME: 3:05 p.m. ET. TV: CBS. LINE: Chiefs -7 O/U: 52.5
ABOUT THE TITANS (11-7): Tennessee is one win away from the Super Bowl thanks to the legs of Henry, the league's leading rusher who rumbled for 182 yards versus the Patriots before gashing Baltimore for 195. "The most important thing is we've got to finish the game strong," Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "If you watch a lot of Derrick Henry, he gets stronger as the game goes on. His first halves, they aren't that great but second-half football he takes off." Henry rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns while Ryan Tannehill threw for two scores in the first meeting versus Kansas City, but the quarterback has thrown for fewer than 90 yards in each playoff win. The Titans limited the Patriots to 13 points before holding Baltimore's top-ranked offense to 12.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (13-4): Patrick Mahomes threw for three touchdowns and a season-high 446 yards in Week 10 while wearing a brace for a knee injury that had sidelined him the previous two games and prevented him from having one rushing attempt for the only time in his career. Mahomes threw for five TDs and 321 yards and also rushing for 53 yards on seven carries last week. Tight end Travis Kelce, despite playing with an ailing knee, was unstoppable against the Texans with 10 receptions for 134 yards and three touchdowns while Williams also accounted for three scores, rushing for two and catching a TD pass. Kansas City did not surrender more than 21 points in its last six regular-season games and held Houston to 10 over the final three quarters last week.
1. Mahomes has eight touchdown passes versus zero interceptions in three playoff games.
2. Henry can join Terrell Davis as the only player to rush for at least 150 yards in three straight postseason games.
3. Chiefs coach Andy Reid, in his seventh conference championship game, is 1-8 in his career against the Titans.