Titans vs. Patriots: 5 bold predictions for the Wild Card matchup
The New England Patriots will host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card round. The Patriots will be playing in their first Wild Card game since the 2009 season when New England was blown out by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14.
The Patriots come into this game following a surprising defeat to the Miami Dolphins in Foxboro. By losing to the Dolphins, New England saw the No. 2 seed slip from their grasp and land in the laps of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Throughout the season, many have questioned the efficiency of New England’s offense that is led by Tom Brady. The Patriots didn’t do much to silence the critics near the end of the year but still finished with a 12-4 record.
On the other hand, the Titans are one of the hottest teams in the NFL since Ryan Tannehill became the starting quarterback. The resurgence of Tannehill has been a mesmerizing occurrence in the 2019 season.
Heading into Saturday night’s contest, the Patriots are favored by five points. In light of that, here are five bold predictions in the Titans and Patriots Wild Card matchup.
5. Tennessee ends the game with zero turnovers
Despite Ryan Fitzpatrick picking apart their defense in Week 17, the Patriots still had the best defense in the NFL this season. Besides the yardage allowed, Bill Belichick’s defense was able to force 36 takeaways on opposing offenses (second-most in the NFL).
The Patriots have the best shutdown cornerback in the NFL in Stephon Gilmore, and he will likely draw the responsibility of covering A.J. Brown. Gilmore leads the team with six interceptions, but there are also four other players on the defense that has hauled in two or more interceptions.
With that being said, Tannehill has been able to avoid turning the ball over. The Titans will have zero turnovers in the box score when the game is completed.
4. Ryan Tannehill throws for 300 passing yards
For the majority of the season, the Patriots were extremely stingy against the pass. But in the final week of the season, New England’s secondary showed signs of being human as Fitzpatrick incinerated them to the tune of 326 yards.
Since Tannehill was promoted to the starting lineup, he has three games of airing it out for 300 or more yards. The veteran signal-caller will make it four such games on Saturday versus the Patriots’ daunting defense.
The Patriots finished the season with the No. 2 ranked pass defense in the NFL, allowing 180.4 yards per game.
3. Sony Michel rushes for 100 yards
One of the most glaring issues of New England’s offense in 2019 is their inability to run the ball effectively. In his second season, Sony Michel was extremely inconsistent as he had just 3.7 yards per rushing attempt.
During last year’s Super Bowl run, Michel was able to combine for 336 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the playoffs. Michel’s last 100-yard outing came in the AFC Championship Game versus the Chiefs.
The second-year running back will get New England’s offense back on track by garnering 100 or more yards against Tennessee’s 12th ranked run defense.
2. Derrick Henry gashes New England’s defense for 160+ rushing yards
Of all of the Titans players that New England has to worry about containing, Derrick Henry presents them with the most challenges. The league’s leading rusher has rushed for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns in his last seven games.
The most rushing yards given up by the Patriots in a playoff game came in 2009 when Ray Rice gained 159 yards on the ground. The Titans tailback will surpass Rice and gash New England’s stout run defense for 160 or more rushing yards on Saturday night.
The Patriots have shown to be susceptible to the run as they surrendered 100 yards four times from Week 8 to Week 15.
1. Titans win the game by double-digits
In Brady’s possible final game in Foxborough, the Patriots seem to be as vulnerable as they’ve ever been in the Belichick era. As a result, plenty of people believe that the Titans will be the team to end New England’s dynasty.
Still, everything appears to be against the Titans in this game. The Patriots haven’t lost a home playoff game since they did so in 2012 versus the Ravens. Tannehill also boasts an 0-6 record at Gillette Stadium in his career.
Given that, this is a bold predictions article, and it wouldn’t be worth writing it unless there was an incredibly bold take. In Tannehill’s first career playoff start, the Titans will defeat the Patriots by double-digits.