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Mike Handzelek's NFL Championship Round Analysis/Review/Notes

By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Jan 22, 2020
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Sunday, January 19, 2020 Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers (NFL) - 6:40 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: -7.5/-115 San Francisco 49ers Rating: 9* Mike's NFC Championship In The Trenches Play (WIN) I bet ex-49ers HC & now NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci wishes he was still coaching today with Garoppolo & a bevy of RB's compared to the 2002 playoffs when all he had was Jeff Garcia & Garrison Hearst versus Gruden's Buccaneers in a bitter 31-6 road loss. This time, we have Green Bay & QB Aaron Rodgers invading California for the 3rd time this season. Besides losing @ the L.A. Chargers 26-11 in Week 9, his Pack was right here in Santa Clara during Week 12 versus this same San Francisco team as 3-point underdogs. After the dust cleared, it was long plane flight to Wisconsin as the 49ers dominated them 37-8 despite GB running 70 plays with a +10 minute possession time advantage. What went wrong for the then 8-2 Packers? The Gold Rush drafting 4 defensive linemen their past 5 top draft pick has paid dividends as Rodgers went a dismal 23-for-37 through the air for a measly 117 yards. Rodgers felt like he worked for the Department of Agriculture more than being Mr. Discount Double Check for All-State as he tasted the ground 5 times due to a fierce 49ers' pass rush designed by 15-year vet DC Robert Saleh. The front of his 4-3 scheme has been second to none with DE Arik Armstead (10), rookie DE Nick Bosa (9), DT DeForest Buckner (7.5) & (late season acquisition from the Chiefs) DE Dee Ford (6.5) combining for 33 of their 48 sacks. Having Ford, MLB Kwon Alexander & Safety Jaquiski Tart back off injury gives them a BIG edge. On the flip side of the coin, the SF offense has been multi-faceted. Taking tremendous pressure off QB Jimmy Garoppolo (3,978 passing yards, 27/13 TD/INT ratio & a nifty 102.0 QBR) is a bruising three-headed running game (ranks 2nd) that's combined for over 1,900 yards rushing & close to 400 receiving with RB's Raheem Mostert (772 yards rushing, 5.6 YPR, 8 TD's), Matt Breida (623 rushing yards, 5.1 YPR, 1 TD) & Tevin Coleman (544 yards rushing, 4.0 YPR & 6 TD's). My bottom line says this situation favors the 49ers who played Saturday afternoon & are home 2 weeks in a row versus the Packers who played Sunday night & now travel 2,000 miles to the west coast. If you recall last week, the red-hot Vikings lost the rushing wars decisively 186-21! SF is actually a FG & a fumble away from being 16-1 SU right now! Ok, let's crunch some final numbers. When Aaron Rodgers has faced a Top 10 defense (SF), he's a perfect 0-4 SU all-time in the playoffs. Green Bay has been a LUCKY team! They've gone a fortunate 9-1 SU in 1-score games this season. The Packers have faced some BAD defenses overall like the Giants (25th), Redskins (27th), Bears (8th but that offense?), Vikings (14th), Lions (31st) & Seahawks (26th). The now play a defense that's 2nd in total "D", 4th in scoring defense & 1st in passing "D" in the league. The Cheeseheads also come in with a rookie HC in Matt LaFleur. Rookie HC's have not fared well in this round going just 3-8 SU. I look for SF's secondary to neutralize WR Davante Adams (83 receptions for 997 receiving yards, 5 TD;s & a GB playoff record 160 yards last game) & load the box forcing RB Aaron Jones (1,084 rushing yards, 4.6 YPR,16 TD's) to beat them. This 49ers' "D" versus the past 2 winning teams @ home (GB & Minn.) have given up an average of 9 PPG! Those (7) total 1st downs by the Vikings last week tied the SF "D" for 3rd fewest 1st downs given up in NFL history. Those playing ATS here, I suggest a play @ SF -5 1/2. However, the advantages here point @ a selection SU. Let's jet out to Santa Clara's Levi Stadium again for a ML play on the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS as my NFC Championship In The Trenches Play! Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) - 3:05 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 7.5/-120 Tennessee Titans Rating: 9* Mike's Blood & Guts AFC Survivor (LOSS) If the Tennessee Titans want to achieve their ever-alluding heights of grandeur, HC Mike "not a novice anymore" Vrabel will have to figure out a way to mix in some effective play-action between some punishing 6'3" 247 lb. RB Derrick "Brahma Bull" Henry bursts from the line of scrimmage. In fact, Henry now gets to a Featherheads' rushing "D" that's ranked in the bottom third (26th) of the NFL. that "D" must also deal with functioning with a hobbled if not out DT Chris Jones & a S Juan Thornhill who is out. It's definitely going to be a tall task for DC Steve Spagnuolo to design a scheme to stop him this week Let's rehash a bit. Henry first faced a Bill Belichick NE "D" that's famous for taking away the best weapon of the opposing offense. What happened? He rushed for 182 yards against the #2 defense in the league in a 20-13 upset of the Patriots. The following week he invaded the tough venue @ Inner Harbor & gashed John Harbaugh's #3 overall defense for 195 more yards as the Titans won going away 28-12. Not only is Henry the FIRST player in NFL history to rush for 180+ yards in 3 straight games but ALSO the pushed his first 4-games playoff overall rushing total to 561, ANOTHER NFL record. Knowing how difficult it is to reach 2,000 rushing yards in a season, Derrick has rushed for 1,273 yards in his last 8 which is a season-pace 2,546 yards! In their 1st meeting this season in Week 10 (before Tennessee started to peak), the brilliant & elusive KC QB Patrick Mahomes (26/5 TD/INT ratio & a 105.3 QBR) passed for 433 yards, out-1st downed the Titans 28-19, held Tannehill to 146 passing yards 7 still came up short, 35-32. Why? Because they didn't have an answer for Henry & Co. either who rushed for a team 225 yards. As far as motivation & hunger are concerned, both of these teams have NFL championship droughts to settle. Kansas City (last played in Super Bowl IV in a 23-7 win over Minnesota as 12-point dogs) & Tennessee (last played in Super Bowl XXXIV in a 23-16 loss to the then St. Louis Rams as 7-point dogs) fail in comparison to the 8-0-3 Akron Pros who won the 1st pro football championship in 1920 when they won the owners' vote (no game) over the 10-2-1 Decatur Staleys. My bottom line looks @ how the Tennessee defense has performed under 16-year vet & DC Dean Pees. His defense has given up a stingy 12.5 PPG in the playoffs and that was against New England & Baltimore! Let's look into some other numbers. For instance, Chiefs' HC Andy "The Walrus" Reid hasn't fared too well in his coaching career versus these same Titans. In 9 career games, he's beaten this team only once SU. Even though it appears KC has a very HOT hand, let's look how other high-flying & scoring teams have done. Teams who've come off scoring 40+ in playoff game have come back to 6-26 ATS spanning the past 25 years. KC also falls into the 50+ category. In the 7 instances where playoff teams have scored 50 or more, they've come back to cover & win just ONCE! The amazing thing looks @ Ryan Tannehill (22/6 TD/INT ratio & a league-best 117.5 QBR) who has won the last 2 NOT needing dazzling stats as he's passed for a combined 160 so far in the playoffs. The #2 seeds (Kansas City) in conference championships have also NOT fared too well the past 23 seasons when hosting. These teams have compiled a very weak 3-6 SU & 3-5-1 ATS record during that span. In addition, the key number for the visiting team in this round has been 20. When they reach 20 or more (I think they will), they're 15-9 SU but a more important 19-4-1 ATS since 98'. Another major factor is time of possession. The Titans have controlled the clock in the playoffs thus far. Teams who have done this have dominated going 24-8 SU & 27-5 ATS the past 16 years. During that same time frame, those teams who have out-rushed their opponents have posted a take-me-to-the-window 24-8 SU & 25-7 pointspread record. Finally, we'll look @ yards per play. Teams with this advantage (Tennessee) have gone a money-making 21-9 SU (straight up). Taking it all into consideration, it's hard NOT to feel the Titans won't be uncorking the champagne on their return flight to Nashville. Let's get pumped (play some John Facenda narration with some NFL highlights) as we go historic Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri to play this @ our line (buying to + 10 1/2) & taking the TENNESSEE TITANS as my Blood & Guts AFC Survivor! Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) - 3:05 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Total: 52/-110 Under Rating: 9* Mike's Rare 2nd Playoff Total Of The Season (LOSS) I'm not "Mr. Totals" by any means. However, when you see a number that really looks overwhelming, you have to dive right in if all the marbles are on the table. It's a consistent fact when totals range in the 50's that the UNDER has dominated going a solid 5-2. When a road pointspread win occurs (we're on Tennessee), the UNDER has hit to the tune of 6-3 the last 9. Let's look @ some strong team trends. Tennessee come in with a ticket-cashing 5-0 UNDER advantage when they've come off allowing 15 points or less in their previous game. The last 7 Titans' playoff games have ALSO saw 6 return tickets to the window on the UNDER. Flipping to the other side has also seen it's advantages toward the UNDER. when the Chiefs come in as a home favorite, the long haul shows a MAJOR profit taking the UNDER to the tune of 40-19-1 over the past 60. My bottom line looks @ KC after Mahomes accumulates 250 or more passing yards in his previous game. This situation has now produced 4 consecutive winners on the UNDER. Get ready for some long drives as we go to Arrowhead Stadium once more to play the UNDER (buying to 54 1/2) as my RARE 2nd Playoff Total Of The Season! NOTES: It didn't started out too well since Tennessee abandoned their game plan in trying to play catch-up in the 4th quarter due to a blown coverage & 60-yd TD pass from Pat Mahomes to Sammy Watkins. The key to this pointspread win actually happened in the last 4+ minutes of the 2nd quarter when the Titans let KC back in the game with 2 late TD's after holding a 17-7 lead over Reid & Co.. For the 2nd straight week, the underdog in the AFC lost a big lead late in the 2nd quarter & then failed to make halftime adjustments. If I had to do it again, taking the motivated dog with momentum getting double-digits would be the way to go. In the other game, San Francisco delivered as their HC didn't let us down as Kyle Shanahan's brilliant game plan was executed to perfection as his Niners jetted out to a 4 TD lead @ halftime & after 3 periods before coasting to a Super Bowl appearance. Let's get ready as I'll be studying hard for the "Big One" before grabbing the gusto in another championship. Stay with me as the analysis will be more than a colored & accurate one! Mike Handzelek's 2020 NFL Championship Round Record: 1-2 for 33.3% Mike Handzelek's 2019-20 NFL Overall Seasonal Record: 52-38 for a still profitable 58%

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