Tennessee got one upset out of the way, and now they’re gearing up for a bigger upset in Foxborough. The Titans went into Arrowhead and knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs. A taller task awaits them in the Divisional Round, as the New England Patriots play host to the Titans on Saturday. There has been some controversy in New England lately, as ESPN published a paper suggesting there is turmoil behind the scenes. In particular, there have been rumors swirling that there was a major disagreement between Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft regarding the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.
Belichick did want to say goodbye to Garoppolo. As it was, the Patriots got a 2nd rounder for Garoppolo from the 49ers. The Browns came out saying they were ready to offer the Pats a 1st round selection for him, but I think they just wanted to get him out of the AFC. There has also been reports of a clash between Belichick and Brady over his personal trainer travelling with the team. I imagine in both cases the media blew it up to way more than it actually is.
On top of that, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is shopping around to be a head coach. It looks like he’s a favorite to land the New York Giants head coaching gig, but the Lions haven’t been ruled out, either. That could be more significant than the two above-mentioned controversies being floated around in New England. In other words, I don’t see the ESPN report derailing their focus any. We’ve already seen this in the past and it hasn’t mattered in the least.
The odds makers would have to agree here, as they’ve inserted the Patriots at heavy favorites. The Titans just beat a team that blew out the Pats in Foxborough. The Chiefs caught the Patriots off-guard in the season opener, and they drilled them for a 42-27 final. No one seen it coming, but the alarm bells were not sounding in Foxborough. The Patriots ultimately went 13-3 in the regular season and secured the top-seed in the AFC. The beatdown made for good fodder for the media and fans, but that’s about it. Head below for our free Titans vs. Patriots pick in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.
Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots Betting Odds:
vs. Patriots -13.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Titans vs. Patriots Pick:
For the Titans to have a chance in this game, they’re going to need not one bounce to go their way, but two or three. Should the Titans have really won to begin with last week? There was a brutal call that went in favor of the Titans. If you watched the game, you know what I’m talking about. Mariota was in the pocket, sacked and fumbled, but the officials deemed his forward progress was stopped. It made for a horrendous call that gave the Titans a free 3 points, which undoubtedly came back to bite the Chiefs. The Chiefs were heavy favorites, so that shouldn’t have even come into play in the first place. Nevertheless, it was a botched call.
The Tennessee defense are credited with getting the win, as they didn’t allow the Chiefs to get their running game going. Kareem Hunt was held to 42 yards on the game. Alex Smith had a nice outing, passing for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the lack of a running game did them in. As usual, the focal point of the Titans on offense was their ground game. Derrick Henry exploded for 156 yards and a touchdown to lead the way.
Along with Mariota’s legs, the Titans averaged 114.6 yards on the ground per game, 15th in the league. Mariota didn’t establish himself as prolific passer in 2017. People were waiting for him to make the jump to elite, but that didn’t happen. Mariota passed for 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in the regular season. Without a defense or running game, Mariota’s issues would have been even more glaring, as people blame him for a poor year. The defense, especially, bailed him out.
The Titans’ defense allowed 328 yards per game for 13th in the NFL. They were particularly good against the run, allowing 88.8 yards per game. Things got dicey against the pass, where they surrendered 239.2 yards per game for 25th in the NFL. With Brady, the Patriots were 2nd in the league with 276.1 passing yards per game. At first look, those points with the Titans looked pretty tempting. However, the Pats are masters at neutralizing one-dimensional offenses. The Titans sorely lack a vertical game. I can see the Patriots getting an added boost of motivation with the recent noise in the news as well. Something along with the lines of 33-13 Patriots looks accurate.
PICK: PATRIOTS -13.5 (-110)