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Chiefs-Texans winner will host AFC Championship Game after Titans upset Ravens

Posted: 10:26 PM, Jan 11, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-11 23:55:17-05
Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Will wonders never cease? Or be careful what you wish for?

It’s hard to know how Chiefs fans should feel about the latest development Saturday night in the NFL playoffs.

Two weeks after the Miami Dolphins pulled off a stunning win in New England to hand Kansas City the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, Coach Andy Reid’s crew has caught another scheduling break — and it might mean a second straight AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium.

The No. 6 seed Tennessee Titans roughed up No. 1 seed Baltimore 28-12 at M&T Bank Stadium, snapping the Ravens’ 12-game win streak.

Presumptive MVP Lamar Jackson and company hadn't lost a game since Sept. 29. Had both Baltimore and Kansas City advanced to the AFC Championship Game, it would have been played at M&T Stadium.

Instead, with the Titans’ victory, the Chiefs stand one win away from hosting the AFC Championship Game — and getting a crack at redemption after last season’s overtime loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Four-time reigning AFC West champion Kansas City hosts Houston at 2:05 p.m. Sunday in the AFC Divisional Round at Arrowhead Stadium.

[RELATED: Chiefs’ injury report for AFC Divisional Round]

It’s far from a gimme for the Chiefs, who lost 31-24 against the Texans on Oct. 13 during a week-six meeting at Arrowhead.

But if the Chiefs, who hosted a Conference Championship Game for the first time in franchise history last season, beat Deshaun Watson and company in the rematch, the road to Super Bowl LIV goes through KC.

The chance to host that game again so soon is a fortunate turn of events for the Chiefs, but the downside is having to face a red-hot Tennessee team.

When the two teams met Nov. 10 in Nashville, the Titans were floundering — sitting below .500 at 4-5 entering play — and seemed overmatched as KC raced to a 10-0 lead.

The Chiefs’ lead remained 29-20 after a long Patrick Mahomes touchdown to Mecole Hardman Jr. early in the fourth quarter, but Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry helped Tennessee takeover down the stretch in a 35-32 win for the Titans.

Tannehill only finished 13 of 19 for 181 yards, but he also threw for two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the closing minutes, and rushed for a two-point conversion.

Meanwhile, Henry gashed the Chiefs’ defense for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

It was a turning point for coach Mike Vrabel’s squad. It also was a low point for Kansas City in Mahomes first game back from a two-and-a-half-game absence with a knee injury.

[Note: Mahomes did go 36 of 50 for 446 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the loss, if you’re keeping track at home.]

Few would have predicted after that game that the two teams would meet again with a trip to Miami for the Super Bowl at stake.

But if the Chiefs topple the Texans, and they are heavily favored to do so (though so was Baltimore against Tennessee), that’s exactly what will happen.