This game will feature teacher versus student from a Head Coach standpoint as Bill Belichick of the Patriots faces off against one of his former players in Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel. We’ll provide a preview of this game and later will also provide our NFL pick and prediction for this first-round AFC contest. The Titans earned their way into the AFC playoffs with a 35-14 win last Sunday over the Houston Texans.
New England lost a shot at a first-round bye by losing to the lowly Miami Dolphins 27-24 on Sunday. It will be the first time in the last 10 years that the Patriots have not had an opening round bye. It will be the second time in the last three seasons the Titans will be in the AFC playoffs, and it was the Patriots who ended their season in 2017 by a score of 35-14.
This has not been your typical Patriots team as they have dropped three of their last five games coming into this one. Quarterback Tom Brady is starting to look his age and hasn’t passed for over 300 yards since week 13 against the Texans. In addition, the defense that was so dominant during their 8-0 start, has come back to earth a bit in recent weeks.
For Vrabel and the Titans, they will continue to rely on the play of Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry. Henry returned last week after a short absence and rushed for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns. But it may be defensively that Tennessee will need to step up to knock out the defending NFL Champions.
Do the Titans have a chance?
Absolutely. The team earned it’s way into the playoffs and has shown the ability to win on the road. Most betting lines also think so as the Patriots are listed as just a 5 point favorite, playing on their home field. But the Titans will need to overcome not just the home field, but the veteran experience of Belichick and Brady as well as other New England stars such as Wide Receiver Julian Edelman and Cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Will the Patriots turn it on now that the playoffs are here?
That’s probably easier said than done. But until they show us that they can’t get it done, it’s hard to bet against this team. No coach is better at finding the weak parts of their opponents than Belichick, and with the game on the line, is their a player you would rather have under center than Brady?
Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots NFL Pick and Prediction
One of these years, New England will take a step back, and drop out of the playoffs early. However, this will probably not be the year. There is most likely a sense of embarrassment that they have to play on Wild Card weekend, and unfortunately for Tennessee, they are next on the schedule. The feeling is that the Titans will keep things close, but a key turnover could just help the Patriots to cover. The point total sits at 44, and with the way the Titans have been putting up points, I would lean towards the over as the preferred NFL pick.
Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots
Saturday January 4th, 2020
8:15pm ET @ Gillette Stadium
Betting Spread: Patriots -5 | Total 44
Pick & Prediction: New England Patriots -5