The 9-7 Tennessee Titans will travel to New England to take on the 13-3 Patriots on Saturday in the AFC Divisional round. These teams took different paths to playoffs with the Titans winning 2 must win games while the Patriots secured a first round bye. In the last 2 weeks, the Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 15-10 in week 17 to get in the playoffs and then beat the Chiefs 22-21 on the road last week to advance. The Titans erased a 21-3 halftime deficit scoring 18 unanswered points to earn the victory. New England is well rested after the bye week and has had 2 weeks to prepare for this game.
The Patriots offense has been solid all year as they scored fewer than 20 points just once this season. It starts with Tom Brady who played well enough to be in consideration for his third MVP award. Brady has thrown for 4,577 yards this season with 32 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions. Tight End Rob Gronkowski also had a great season for the Patriots finishing with 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns. On the season they finished first in yards gained with 394 and 2nd with 28.9 points scored per game. Defensively, the Patriots held 10 of their last 12 opponents to 17 points or less. For the year, they ranked 5th in the league by allowing their opponents to score 18.5 points per game.
The Titans would have been eliminated if they lost either of their last 2 games, which they won by combined 6 points. Derrick Henry had a huge game last week against the Chiefs gaining 156 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Marcus Mariota had a mixed day as he finished with a quarterback rating of 48. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 205 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. His favorite target was Delanie Walker who had 6 catches for 74 yards. For the season, they ranked 18th in points scored per game with 20.9 and ranked 21st with 318.9 yards per game. Defensively, they shut the Chiefs out in the second half and limited them to just 69 rushing yards. They were not able to force a turnover but did sack Alex Smith 4 times. For the year, they finished 18th by allowing their opponents to score an average of 22.2 points per game. They finished 13th by allowing their opponents to gain an average of 328 yards per game.
New England will have home field advantage in this game and is favored by 13.5 points. They have gone 11-5 against the spread against this season including 5-3 at home. The Titans have gone 8-7-1 against the spread including 3-5 on the road.
For the Titans, running back Demarco Murray will miss his third straight game with a knee sprain. New England has gone 9 -1 in Divisional games played at Gillette Stadium but 2 of the teams 3 losses this season have come at home.
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