The participants in Sunday’s AFC and NFC Championship games don’t need to study much game tape to scout one another. If they do, they can look back at the time they met two months ago in the regular season.
Tennessee is playing Kansas City in the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, on Sunday afternoon. After that game, the Green Bay Packers will take on the San Francisco 49ers in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
The underdogs in each of Sunday’s games, which will send the winner to the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami, weren’t the favorites when these teams met in regular season. That isn’t stopping them from believing they can win the AFC or NFC Championship.
Tennessee wide receiver Corey Davis is confident the Titans will continue their improbable playoff run, telling Sports Illustrated they are a confident team.
“We’re resilient. We’re relentless,” Davis said. “You know, you’re never out of it. We understand that playing ball in January, little things matter. It’s always like that, but it’s heightened ever more so now. We’ve got some dogs in this locker room, and we’re ready for this game.”
Titans Look Back to Move Forward
Tennessee is a 7-point underdog to Kansas City in the AFC Championship. They got 5.5 points when the two met in Tennessee on Nov. 10. The Titans won that game, 35-32.
That matchup marked Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ first game back from a dislocated knee cap, and coach Andy Reid didn’t want his usually mobile quarterback running around. He spent most of the game in the pocket, and still threw for more than 446 yards in the loss.
It was the last loss the team had this season. They won seven straight to get the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Now the Chiefs must avoid what happened to the Baltimore Ravens last week when Tennessee upset the No. 1 seed, 28-12.
Packers Trying To Avenge Blowout
Green Bay had a different outcome when they traveled to San Francisco on Nov. 24. The Packers were a 3-point underdog, but were blown out by the 49ers, 37-8. San Francisco is laying 7.5 points in the NFC Championship game.
Now the Packers have to forget that game, and focus on getting to the Super Bowl under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur. LaFleur told reporters his team’s mindset has changed.
“I think both teams have come a long way since then,” LaFleur said. “You certainly take a look at it, try to take bits and pieces from it, but there’s a lot of tape on them and we know what we have to do. It’s going to be a great challenge.”
It’s a challenge that doesn’t favor the Packers. Since 2002, when the playoffs were expanded to 32 teams, there have been 25 instances where one team has beaten another by 20 or more points in the regular season and then met them again in the playoffs. The winning team in the regular season is 20-5.