After a shocking loss in Week 17, the find themselves playing on Wild Card Weekend for the first time in 10 years and just the fourth time in the era. In that previous wild-card game, the Patriots lost to a quarterback who completed just four passes as the rumbled to a 33-14 win behind 52 rushing attempts.
If the are going to pull off an upset in this game, it’ll take a lot more than four pass completions from . While the Titans have owned one of the league’s best offenses since Tannehill joined the lineup, they also don’t have a lot of quality wins on their resume — with a Week 10 victory over the being a notable exception.
Below, you’ll find info on how to watch the game along with what you need to know about the opening and current lines. Then, you’ll see our CBSSports.com expert picks, along with some analysis from some of our writers and SportsLine analysts.
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Titans at Patriots Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS), stream on Patriots -5.5, O/U 43.5 Patriots -5, O/U 44 Titans at Patriots (-4.5) Championship club reportedly paid £8m for Kalas, who made 41 appearances during a successful loan spell at Ashton Gate last season.Kalas played just four times for Chelsea over a nine-year period.”We saw last season the qualities he brings and Tomas
“The Titans are playing well as they move to the playoffs, while the Patriots are coming off a bad loss to the that has them playing this weekend. They are not familiar with that in their dynasty era. But I think they will respond to it. Look for the defense to take away and force Ryan Tannehill to win the game. He is 0-6 as a starter in his career against the Patriots in Foxborough, which will show up here. The Patriots get back on track and advance behind the defense and an improved offense.” — Pete Prisco on
“I’ve seen this movie before: trendy team who got hot down the stretch goes into New England as a shorter underdog, with a bunch of people picking them to win because the matchups favor them, only to get flexed on by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. and it could work out poorly for the Titans too. … There’s plenty of reason to be concerned for New England. I don’t think they win the . But I’m not going to fade them at home in the playoffs until they show me I should.” — Will Brinson on
SportsLine expert Larry Hartstein has put together a strong run picking Titans games, as he’s 10-3 in his last 13 ATS picks for or against Tennessee. He’s leaning to the Over on the total, but he has a strong play against spread; over at SportsLine.
“On the Patriots’ end, the biggest advantage they have in this game is Bill Belichick, but even that might not be much of an advantage against the Titans. If there’s one time when Belichick seems to regularly get outcoached, it’s when he’s going up against former members of the Patriots organization. Over the past two years, the Patriots have lost a total of nine regular season games and four of those have come against people who once coached with or played for the Patriots (Brian Flores and Bill O’Brien in 2019; Matt Patricia and Mike Vrabel in 2018). Vrabel’s win came last season when the Titans beat the Patriots 34-12 in what currently ranks as the fourth-worst loss that Belichick and Tom Brady have ever suffered together.” — John Breech on
“The Patriots will also have to deal with the Titans’ use of heavy personnel, particularly on passing plays. Tennessee ranked second in success rate from 12 personnel and fourth from 22 personnel this season, per Sharp Football Stats, and as Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston noted this week, the Patriots had some this season — particularly against the Ravens. The Pats play more man coverage than any team in the NFL, though, and the Titans saw a ton of zone as a reaction to their run game and Tannehill’s ability to make plays with his legs. Only 92 of Tannehill’s 286 passes attempts came against man defenses, per Sports Info Solutions, a rate of about 32 percent. Seeing more of a defense that he didn’t see as often during the regular season could potentially throw a wrench into Tannehill’s rhythm.” — Jared Dubin, , in his in-depth preview
The SportsLine Projection Model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up over $7,000 for $100 players on its top-rated since its inception four-plus years ago. Its biggest edge in this game comes on the total, with one side cashing in over 65% of simulations. See only at SportsLine.
“It’s not exactly breaking news to say that the Titans have been a different team since Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback for Marcus Mariota. It’s common knowledge at this point, but what might not be is that Tannehill hasn’t only changed things for the offense. Not only is Tennessee scoring more points with Tannehill, but it’s allowing more as well. The Titans pass defense has never been its strength, and with teams needing to keep up with the Tennessee offense, they’ve been able to exploit that weakness while attempting to do so. All of which goes a long way toward explaining why the over has gone 9-1 in the 10 games Ryan Tannehill has started. I know about the concerns with QBs making their first career playoff start, but I still think this total is too low. A part of that is I’m not willing to pronounce the Patriots dynasty dead yet, as I sense many others just waiting for a chance to do so.” — Tom Fornelli on on the weekend
“The Titans have the better offense, . The Patriots were 11th. Even Belichick knows his offense stinks, evidenced by the way he approached the end of the first half against the Dolphins on Sunday. With roughly a minute remaining and with the game tied, Belichick chose to run out the clock instead of trying to move into scoring range. The Titans also have the better quarterback. Tom Brady, while still the greatest quarterback of all time, is coming off his worst season as a starter since 2013. Meanwhile, Tannehill has played at a top-five level ever since the Titans made him their starter in Week 7.” — Sean Wagner-McGough on
“Despite their offensive struggles over the bulk of the season, the Patriots have been chipping away at something that resembles a serviceable unit, specifically when they focus on the ground game. I expect that to be a main point of emphasis for Josh McDaniels, while Brady looks more like he did against Buffalo in Week 16 where he completed his first ten throws in what unquestionably was his best game of the year. Tennessee will make this a close game and head coach Mike Vrabel, who once played under Belichick in Foxborough, will surely be able to throw plenty of wrinkles his old team’s way. His familiarity alone has me taking the points in this one. In the end, however, I simply question if Ryan Tannehill, who is 0-6 against the Patriots as a starter in New England, can get it done against a defense that is hungry to rebound. I see the Pats living to fight another week.” — Tyler Sullivan on
“Everyone’s going to milk the ‘Patriots might actually be dying’ narrative this week, and rightfully so, considering New England will be playing in the wild-card round for the first time since 2009. The Titans also have the grit to put up a seriousNerazzurri leapfrogged Juventus, who drew 2-2 with Sassuolo today, with this 2-1 win.Conte remarked: “We’ve been working since Day One to make an impact and annoy the other teams. Being back on top of the table after 14 rounds makes us proud, because fight, especially if Derrick Henry gets going on the ground. But I’m not taking the bait that easily. Tom Brady might be on the decline, but he’s still about to start a home playoff game after an embarrassing Week 17 performance. Bill Belichick will lean on a top-10 run defense and out-scheme Mike Vrabel here, and the dynasty will remain intact for another week.” — Cody Benjamin on d to quit Manchester United in January, it has been revealed.The Frenchman was snubbed for the captaincy as United scraped past Rochdale on penalties in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.Pogba was also not among the five penalty takers in the shooto
“The Titans on the other hand are one of the hottest teams in the league. Tannehill finished the regular season with the best passer rating in the NFL, Derrick Henry led the league in rushing and A.J. Brown led all rookies with 1,051 receiving yards and tied for first with eight touchdown catches. If that dynamic trio is playing at its best, the Titans are going to score more points than the Patriots. Titans coach and Patriot legend Mike Vrabel beat Bill Belichick by 24 points last season, and I think he beats the Patriots again this weekend. Throwing it all on the money line!” — Jordan Dajani on
Finally, here are the arguments for each side of the spread :
Similar efficiency numbers to Patriots hints at valueBetter than overall numbers due to QB change (7-3 with Ryan Tannehill)Patriots have played worse in second half on both sides of ballInjury edge: Derrick Henry off injury report; playing at less than 100%Patriots 10-4 ATS in playoffs since 2014, 7-2 ATS at home since 2013Patriots’ playoff experience and coaching edge may trump any statistical disadvantageBonus: Over is 7-1-1 in Patriots home playoff games since 2013