Fans of the NFL couldn't have hoped for a more intriguing conference championship round. This year's edition features a Cinderella in the Tennessee Titans, a defensive juggernaut in the San Francisco 49ers, a young offensive powerhouse in the Kansas City Chiefs and a future Hall of Fame quarterback in the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers.
This round has just about everything, and missing it would be a regrettable decision for even the most casual of fans.
Here, you'll find everything you need to know to ensure that doesn't happen, along with the latest odds and over/unders from Caesars and some of the latest playoff-related buzz.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
When: 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 19
TV and Live Stream: CBS, CBS All Access
Line, Over/Under: KC -7, 53
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
When: 6:40 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 19
TV and Live Stream: Fox, Fox Sports Go
Line, Over/Under: SF -7.5, 46.5
Chiefs Looking to Lean on Experience
While the Titans haven't been in the AFC Championship Game since the 2002 season, the Kansas City Chiefs were there just a year ago. They narrowly lost in overtime to the New England Patriots, and that's an experience Kansas City is hoping to use to its advantage.
Essentially, that loss has taught the Chiefs to be prepared for the unknown.
"Last year they caught us a little off guard with the coverages they played at the beginning of the game," quarterback Patrick Mahomes said, per ESPN's Adam Teicher. " ... [You] want to make sure that you're just preparing for everything."
This may sound like a common-sense approach, but it's worth noting that the Chiefs struggled out of the gate against the Houston Texans last week. Against the Titans and their 12th-ranked scoring defense, it cannot happen again if the Chiefs hope to pull out a win.
Several Key Titans Listed as Questionable
The Chiefs will benefit from spending the first round of the postseason on bye. They are relatively healthy coming out of the Houston contest, with only LeSean McCoy, Chris Jones and backup quarterback Matt Moore listed as questionable.
The Titans, on the other hand, have several key players listed as questionable on the injury report.
Perhaps the most notable injury belongs to starting right tackle Jack Conklin (shoulder). Tennessee will hope to again lean on Derrick Henry and the running game, which will be a more difficult task if Conklin cannot go.
Injuries to linebacker Rashaan Evans (foot), linebacker Jayon Brown (shoulder) and cornerback Adoree Jackson (CB) are also notable, as slowing the Chiefs offense will be one of the game's biggest challenges for Tennessee.
Packers Looking for a Fast Start
The last time the Packers and the 49ers faced off, Rodgers was held to just 104 yards passing, and the 49ers rolled 37-8. Part of the problem was that Green Bay got behind early and then spent the rest of the game dealing with San Francisco's ferocious pass rush.
Taking the pass rush, and the home crowd, out of the game will be Green Bay's first goal.
"It's the same recipe to winning on the road as in the regular season," Rodgers said, per Zach Kruse of Packers Wire. "You have to go in and start fast, try and take the crowd out of it as much as you can."
Naturally, Rodgers and the Packers offense will largely be responsible for achieving a fast start, but the defense will also play a significant role. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will have to figure out how to limit San Francisco's creative rushing attack for Green Bay to get ahead.
If the defense cannot hold up early, the Packers could find themselves in a situation similar to the one the Baltimore Ravens were in last week—playing catch-up against a team in ball-control mode.