Tennessee Titans (10-7; 9-7-1 ATS; 9-8 O/U) vs. New England Patriots (13-3; 11-5 ATS; 7-9 O/U)
Line: New England -13.5
The New England Patriots will host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoff Saturday night from Gillette Stadium. The Titans are coming off a stunning 22-21 road win against the Chiefs in the Wildcard last week, and the Patriots enjoyed a first round bye after winning the AFC East with a 13-3 record. These teams last met in the 2015 season in a game New England won by a 33-16 score.
Titans Storm Back from 18 Point Deficit in Win Over Chiefs
The Tennessee Titans mounted a thrilling comeback in their 22-21 road win over the Chiefs in the AFC Wildcard last Saturday. The Titans were down 21-3 and Marcus Mariota led his team to the improbable comeback. Mariota finished with 205 passing yards with two touchdowns against one interception and added 46 rushing yards. The 24-year old quarterback did have an inconsistent season, however, he silenced his critics in the Wildcard win. Titans’ leading rusher Derrick Henry played a key role in the win against the Chiefs, accumulating a season-high 156 rushing yards and averaged a dazzling 6.8 yards per carry. Look for Henry to see a heavy workload again this week. Delanie Walker also had a big game last week, making six catches for 74 yards. Walker will be one to watch in this one as the Patriots do have a weak pass defense. The Titans are now averaging 20.9 points per game, ranking them 19th in the NFL.
The Tennessee defense shutout the Chiefs in the second half last week, and held them to 325 total yards. They were able to contain Kareem Hunt by limiting him to 42 rushing yards. Brian Orakpo made 1.5 sacks on Alex Smith and now has 8.5 on the season. The Titans feature the fourth-ranked rush defense, however, their subpar pass defense will need to be at their absolute best against Tom Brady. The Titans are conceding an average of 22.2 points, placing them 17th in the NFL.
Brady Begins Quest for Sixth Superbowl
The New England Patriots are back playing in their seventh consecutive divisional playoff round in this matchup. They had another dominating season led by Tom Brady. The five-time Superbowl champion had a tremendous season, accumulating 4577 passing yards with a dazzling 32:8 TD to INT ratio. Brady features a 63:31 TD to INT ratio in 35 career playoff games. Rob Gronkowski is back in the playoffs after he missed out last year due to injury. The 28-year old tight end has been a solid playoff performer, recording 754 yards in nine career playoff games. Gronkowski led the Patriots with 1084 receiving yards this season. Patriots’ leading rusher Dion Lewis finished the season off strong, racking up 222 rushing yards in his last two games, and finished with a career-high 896 rushing yards on the season. Tennessee does have a terrific rush defense, so look for Tom Brady to be very active. New England features the number two ranked passing game and are averaging 28.6 points per game.
The Patriots defense did show improvement after a very rough start to the season, however, they still own the 30th ranked pass defense. They did finish seventh in the NFL with 42 sacks led by Trey Flowers with 6.5. New England only allowed a combined 22 points in their last two games, and are conceding an average of 18.5 points, placing them fifth in the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after recording more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
The New England Patriots are:
- No Key Trends
I am taking the points with the Titans in this matchup. This is a large spread and I am confident the Titans can do enough on both sides of the ball to keep this one close. The Titans defense showed great character by shutting the Chiefs out in the second half last week, and they are more than capable of at least neutralizing the Patriots offense. Tennessee features a stifling rush defense that is only allowing 188 rushing yards per game. Furthermore, the Patriots pass defense is allowing an average of 251 passing yards per game, ranking them 30th in the NFL, and Mariota really played well in the second half last week. Derrick Henry rushed for 156 yards against KC, and he should have success against the Patriots rush defense.
Pick: Tennessee Titans
The Patriots powerhouse offense should do solid damage, and the Titans should carry their offensive momentum from last week into this one. Tom Brady and the Patriots second ranked passing game will do their usual damage against the Titans subpar pass defense, and the over is 6-0 in the Patriots’ last six home playoff games. The Titans accumulated 397 total yards against the Chiefs, and I anticipate another strong game from Derrick Henry on the ground for Tennessee, plus the over is 4-1 in their last five games at New England.