AFC, NFC Championship Game previews: Titans vs. Chiefs, Packers vs. 49ers

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22). (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Four will enter, two will leave.

We’re one Sunday from finding out the combatants of Super Bowl LIV in Miami as the NFC and AFC Championship Games get set to grip the sporting world this weekend.

AMNewYork Metro takes a look ahead to football’s massive weekend:

AFC Championship Game
Titans vs. Chiefs
3:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Something has to give in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

The AFC’s No. 2 seed and the hosts for Sunday’s conference title game, the Chiefs, haven’t made the NFL’s championship game since they won Super Bowl IV in 1970.

What’s a 50-year wait?

This is the second-straight year that the Chiefs will be appearing in an AFC Championship Game. Last year saw Andy Reid’s men squander a four-point lead with two minutes left to lose in overtime, 37-31.

Back on the warpath, the Chiefs rode an offensive explosion in the Divisional Round to book their place in the AFC’s final two.

After falling behind 24-0 in the second quarter to the Houston Texans, superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Co. reeled off an NFL record seven-straight touchdowns to cruise to a 51-31 victory.

Mahomes passed for five touchdowns while the Chiefs became the first team ever to overturn a 20-plus-point playoff deficit and win the game by 20 or more.

An explosive offense doesn’t phase the Titans, however, who are making their first appearance in an AFC title game since 2002.

They’ve made just a single Super Bowl appearance in their franchise history dating back to the NFL/AFL merger in 1970, which came in a narrow 2000 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

The AFC’s No. 6 seed has become the NFL’s Cinderella story in 2020, defeating the dynastic New England Patriots in the Wild Card Round before shutting down the likely NFL MVP in Lamar Jackson to shock the AFC’s No. 1-seeded Baltimore Ravens.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has become a scheming master, finding the perfect matchups for his defense to neutralize Tennessee’s largest threats.

Expect Mahomes to see his fair share of different looks from the Titans.

On the offensive end, the resurgent Ryan Tannehill has managed the Titans’ offense to perfection. Granted, the formula is pretty simple. All he has to do is feed the ball to Derrick Henry.

The NFL’s leading rusher is on an unrivaled hot streak, becoming the first player in league history to rush for 180-plus yards in three-straight games.

NFC Championship Game
Packers vs. 49ers
6:40 p.m. ET, FOX

The new kid on the block meets the old gunslinger in Santa Clara.

Jimmy Garoppolo has finally lived up to the hype that he has shown in limited flashes over the previous five seasons.

The 28-year-old managed to play his first full NFL season in 2019, throwing for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.

Couple with a top-10 defense, Garoppolo led the 49ers to the NFC’s No. 1 seed with a 13-3 record before making easy work of the Minnesota Vikings in the Divisional Round.

A much stiffer test awaits in the form of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will be keen on reminding the football world that he is still one of the top passers on the planet.

With a set of receivers that don’t jump off the page, Rodgers eclipsed the 4,000-yard passing mark for the third time in four seasons, adding 24 touchdowns to just four interceptions.

He had some major help in the form of emerging star running back Aaron Jones, who led the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns in his first season as the starter in Green Bay.

While both teams have made Super Bowl appearances in the last decade (Green Bay won Super Bowl XLV), the 49ers haven’t won a championship since 1995.

A title this year would tie the 49ers with the Patriots and Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins all-time with six.

AMNY Newsletter

Eat it. Drink it. Do it. Tackle the city, with our help.