The New England Patriots will look to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the seventh straight year when they host the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Game time is set for 8:15 EST on Saturday, January 13 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The game will be broadcast on CBS. Oddsmakers list New England as 13.5-point favorites with an over/under of 47 points.
Titans vs Patriots Vegas Odds & Game Preview
The Titans head to New England fresh off a huge upset over the Chiefs in the Wild Card Round. Tennessee overcame an 18-point deficit to win in Kansas City 22-21. The Titans ran the ball for over 200 yards behind Derrick Henry while Marcus Mariota made some spectacular plays to lead the comeback. However, Tennessee faces even longer odds against the Patriots this week.
The Patriots, of course, are heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl. However, there are rumblings out of New England of some tension between some of the most important figures on the Patriots. If that’s true, you haven’t been able to notice anything during the latter part of the season. More importantly, there’s no reason to think it won’t be business as usual for the Patriots once they begin their playoff journey.
Free Pro Football Pick Against the Spread: Patriots -13.5
To be honest, I went back and forth when picking this game. On the one hand, I hate swallowing this many points in a playoff game. On the other hand, I don’t want to overreact to the Titans playing one great half of football after the way they struggled down the stretch. In the end, the smart bet is to side with Tom Brady and the Patriots in a playoff game. I’ll lean toward New England to win by at least two touchdowns.
In their last eight games, the Patriots have won six by at least two touchdowns. The only exceptions are their mysterious loss to the Dolphins and their road win against the Steelers. Against everybody else, they’ve taken care of business and won comfortably. I’m not sure I see the Titans being another exception to that trend.
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Obviously, the Tennessee defense is coming off the best half of football they’ve played all season. The Titans have also been consistently good defending the run all season. That was evident in their ability to limit Kareem Hunt to just 42 yards on 11 carries last week. I definitely think there’s a chance the Titans can slow down New England’s running game and make the Patriots one-dimensional on offense.
Unfortunately for the Titans, that may not be enough to slow down the Patriots. Brady can move the ball and get New England into the end zone even without his running game providing much support. Meanwhile, the Tennessee secondary has been vulnerable this year against good quarterbacks. There were lit up by former New England back Jimmy Garoppolo just a few weeks ago. The Titans also gave up 40 points against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers earlier this year, so I definitely have concerns about the Tennessee defense containing Brady.
As a result, it’ll be up to Mariota and the Tennessee offense to keep the Titans in this game. Behind Henry and the rushing game, the Titans were able to forge a comeback next week. But the Titans will face a much better defensive team this week. There will be a lot more pressure on Mariota’s shoulders, and I’m not sure he’s up to the challenge. He’ll need to play well for four quarters, not just two if the Titans are going to keep up with the Patriots.
While I applaud the Titans for their comeback this week, they’ll quickly come back down to earth this week. I don’t think Tennessee’s defense will be able to consistently get stops against the Patriots. I also don’t think the Titans will be able to match them score for score. After a great 2nd half comeback last week, the Titans will be the victims of a second-half blowout this week. I see New England winning this game and covering the 13.5-point spread quite comfortably.