Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots AFC Divisional Playoff Pick - Betting Odds
Tennessee roared back to upset Kansas City 22-21 last Saturday. New England had a 1st-round bye last week.
The Titans offense seems to be in RB Derrick Henry’s hands right now. He has eclipsed former starter RB DeMarco Murray (check status for this game) in the regular season and with Murray missing last week’s game, in the playoffs as well. He gained 156 yards on the ground and 35 more yards through the air and will be the No.1 focus of the Patriots defense this Saturday. New England allowed 4.7 ypc this year but HC Bill Belichick always tries to take away an opponent’s best player. I look for the Titans to stick with the run behind their powerful o-line even if they stumble early. The more Tennessee has success running the ball, the less they have to rely on QB Marcus Mariota and the less they will see of NE QB Tom Brady. Mariota had an unsightly 13-15 TD/INT ratio in 2017 and was 2-1 against the Chiefs. Mariota also ran for 46 yards and the Patriots have to be aware of him on scrambles. TE Delanie Walker is Mariota’s favorite target but WRs Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker are reliable weapons too. New England got shredded through the air in the first month of the season but played noticeably better down the stretch vs. the pass. DE Trey Flowers led the team with only 6.5 sacks but New England compiled 42 sacks as a team.
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The Patriots relied more on their running game late in the year because 1) it was working and 2) Brady was in a bit of a late-season funk. In his last 5 starts, Brady had a 6-5 TD/INT ratio after having a 26-3 ratio in the first 11 games. He has been dealing with (supposedly) an injured left shoulder and an Achilles issue. TE Rob Gronkowski led the team in catches, yardage and TD catches and will be the top priority of the Titans defense. Trouble is, he is too big for safeties and too quick for LBs. WRs Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola are small, quick players and can be pressured at the line. Gronkowski is also a very strong run blocker and RB Dion Lewis has been reaping the benefits of the line’s play in recent weeks (366 yards, 5 TDs last 3 games). Tennessee held Kansas City to 69 yards rushing last week and allowed only 88.8 ypg over the regular season (3.6 ypc). New England has a very flexible offensive system and could run the ball 10 times in a row or pass it 15 times in a row. DC Dick LeBeau has had limited success vs. this offense in his career and could have his hands full again. The Titans had 4 sacks last week and like the Pats, had 42 on the year. Brady was sacked 35 times this season, a high number for him during his career.
In this AFC Divisional Playoff game Tennessee takes on New England at Gillette Stadium the public is heavily leaning to the Pat’s to cover the 13.5 point spread at home with over 70%. The over/under bettors slightly are thinking this game will go over the posted total of 47.5 with just over 52% on board.
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots AFC Playoff Prediction
With the number this high, it’s hard to think the Titans have a chance to win this game. I think they learned a valuable lesson last week; start slow and your season could be over in an hour. They were a little lucky to come back against KC but that came against a team and head coach with limited playoff success. Now they face the kings of the playoffs but I think they will be ready. They have gone all in on Henry and he has rewarded them with some strong performances. Mariota has had an up-and-down year but is capable of making big plays when needed. If he can keep some drives alive with his legs, it will give the defense something more to deal with. Brady has looked a little shaky (for him) over the past month and he’ll have to be aware of FS Kevin Byard and his 8 interceptions when he drops back to pass. I don’t expect the Titans to win this game but I do have a small lean in their direction with the number being so big.