Championship Game Observations

Championship Game Observations

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

The conference title games went more or less as I expected. My strongest lean in the AFC game was the over, and I was pretty sure the 49ers would smash the Packers in the NFC. The final scores I had for Chiefs-Titans were 31-24 (it was 35-24), and 49ers-Packers 37-17 (it was 37-20). The biggest surprise for me is the Titans abandoned the run, in my opinion, earlier than they had to. While the Chiefs stacked the box early and stuffed Derrick Henry a few times, the Titans got easy play action chances in the first half and should have stuck with it. 

Ryan Tannehill's numbers were fine, but he didn't make plays or sustain drives when the team needed him to. And he was more or less dead in the water on second or third and long. I'd expect him to be the starter next year, but Henry and the running game made him, not the other way around. 

The Titans have a nice core of skill talent. Beyond Henry, A.J. Brown looks like a future star, Corey Davis (former No. 5 overall pick) showed a pulse, Adam Humphries is a quality possession receiver and Jonnu Smith is an athletic pass-catching tight end. 

Mike Vrabel  did a nice job with the Titans this year, but he punted twice (once at the end of the first half) on fourth and short from his own end when he should have gone for it. Given how often coaches punt even in plus territory, it's not a surprise, but against the Chiefs, having the ball is much more important than field possession. 

Patrick Mahomes might be the greatest quarterback of all time. The only comp I have is peak Aaron Rodgers

Sammy Watkins is still fast for his size. Having him and Damien Williams completely healthy makes the offense that much tougher to stop even when Travis Kelce does nothing and Tyreek Hill has only 67 yards. 

Getting Chris Jones back was big for the Chiefs, and presumably he'll be healthier and able to play more snaps two weeks from now. 

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams put up nice per-play stats against a stout Niners defense, but it was all in garbage time. When it counted, they were nowhere to be found. Rodgers had three turnovers and took three sacks too. 

The Packers desperately need some outside playmakers beyond Adams. Ideally a slot receiver and a field stretcher. Even someone like DeSean Jackson or Brandin Cooks would make a massive difference. 

Jimmy Garoppolo will play in three games this postseason but so far hasn't helped anyone who took him in their playoff drafts. He attempted only eight passes Sunday. 

With Tevin Coleman going down, Raheem Mostert played the Derrick Henry role, though with more speed than power. Mostert weighs only 200 pounds, but he runs a 4.34 40 and seems to glide through every hole. Deebo Samuel was the only other skill player to be involved as anything more than a blocker. George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders combined for two targets and one catch. 

I'll be placing a big bet on the 49ers in the Super Bowl. For my reasoning, see this thread

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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