Could I have come up with a better title? Yeah, probably. Did I want to use it as an excuse to read about the Titanomachy to try and find a crafty title? You’re damn right I did. Anyway, let’s get down to it.
There’s no sugarcoating that this game has the potential to be an absolute beatdown (not one by the Titans, by the way). The Patriots come into this home game off a much needed bye week while the Titans were busy staging the (second) best playoff comeback in the last… well… 12 months.
This Titans run, that started with a magical week 17 that saw the Ravens choke straight out of a sure playoff spot, comes from a team that entered the postseason with a negative point, yard and turnover differential. Meanwhile, the Patriots come in with the most yards/game, second most total points and a positive turnover differential. Let’s dive deeper into this impending massacre and explore the unlikely possibility of an upset.
Why I think they’re screwed: As I previously stated, the Titans came into the postseason with negative point, yard and turnover differentials. I can tell you right now that losing the turnover battle with an efficient Patriots team will not give you the result you’re looking for.
In addition to their overall inefficiency, the Titans have a very one-dimensional offense (no offense Mariota) that relies heavily on the run. With extra time to prepare for the no-huddle and put emphasis on containing Henry and Mariota runs, the Pats should have no problem handling a hit-or-miss Titans offense.
A final fun stat to contribute to the fall of the Titans – the Patriots led the league in receiving yards by running backs while the Titans were last in yards allowed to receiving backs and also first downs surrendered to receiving backs. Start the buses.
Why they might have a shot: The Patriots have a tendency to give up dynamic plays to talented running backs (see: Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, Kenyan Drake and Le’Veon Bell). While the Patriots have improved substantially on the defensive side of the ball, their run defense continues to be a question mark.
On top of the bruising play by Henry, Mariota threw the ball very well last week in a dramatic comeback win over Kansas City. If the Titans can get the Patriots focused on stopping the ground game and then gash them through the air with Walker and Decker, this game might actually be closer than some people think.
Why it’s already over: The Patriots are the most dominant force in sports over the last 17 years. Tom Brady has virtually every postseason record and a more complete team heading into the Divisional matchup with the Titans. Travis Kelce was in the process of embarrassing the Titans’ secondary last week before he was knocked out and Gronkowski should do the same. Other fun facts – no quarterback has ever beaten New England in his first or second career playoff game, Tom Brady is undefeated (6-0) against Mike Murlarkey-coached teams, the Patriots have been to 6 straight AFC championship games. Expect the same.
Why it’s NOT already over – It is. Grow up nerds.
Brady with with the Cam Newton celebration. What a stud pic.twitter.com/UvXaY5saSf
— Per Sources (@PerSources) October 9, 2016
Feels good to be back, fam! ‘Til next time.