New England hosts Tennessee in the second AFC Wild Card playoff contest. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. The Titans played a skeleton Texans team last week and rolled to an easy win in Houston. The Patriots fielded a full squad and lost at home to Miami as massive 17-point favorites. Will the Pats quest to go back-to-back continue?
Spread: Patriots -5 (-110) | Titans +5 (-110)
Moneyline: Patriots (-230) | Titans (+195)
Game Total: OVER 44 (-110) | UNDER 44 (-110)
Tennessee Titans’ Recent Form
Getting back on the winning track, Tennessee humbled Houston 35-14 on the road in Week 17. The Texans sat several starters but the Titans still looked impressive. Tennessee was solid on both sides of the ball and Derrick Henry piled up three TD and 211 yards to win the NFL rushing title. Prior to that, the Titans lost 24-12 to the Texans in Week 15 and 38-28 to the Saints in Week 16 during two home games.
· Betting Record: SU 9-7 | ATS 9-7 | O/U 10-6
· Offense: 10, scoring 25.1 points per game
· Defense: 12, allowing 20.7 points per game
· Turnover Rank: Ninth with a +6 differential
New England Patriots’ Recent Form
Stumbling around at home, New England lost 27-24 to Miami, who rolled in Gillette Stadium with a 4-11 record. It’s a shocking loss considering the Patriots would have locked up a first-round bye with a win. Ryan Fitzpatrick outperformed Tom Brady, who threw a pick-six, was sacked four times and hasn’t looked healthy for weeks. New England closed its season on a 2-3 slide after opening with a 10-1 record.
· Betting Record: SU 12-4 | ATS 9-7 | O/U 7-9
· Offense: Seventh, scoring 26.3 points per game
· Defense: First, allowing 14.1 points per game
· Turnover Rank: First with a +21 differential
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New England Has a Recent History Edge Over Tennessee
These teams met during Week 10 action last season and New England was thumped 34-10 on the road in Tennessee. Brady posted 254 pass yards without a TD while Marcus Mariota started for the Titans and put up 228 yards and two TD. The Patriots gained 40 net rushing yards, which Derrick Henry countered with 58 yards and two scores. Up 24-10 at halftime, Titans defense pitched a shutout during the second half.
Prior to that meeting, it was all New England as the Pats went 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS vs. the Titans dating back to 2003. That includes a 35-14 drubbing during the 2018 AFC Divisional playoff round. Brady (337/3) bettered Mariota (254/2) and Henry was held to 28 scoreless yards on 12 carries. Tennessee hasn’t won in New England since 1993, when it was the Houston Oilers and Warren Moon faced Scott Secules.
Injury Update: Brady Insists He Is Healthy
Despite sporting an ice pack on his throwing elbow after the Patriots loss to Miami, Tom Brady insists he isn’t injured. Recent performances suggest otherwise, as Brady has struggled with mid to deep downfield passes over the past several weeks. Wideout Julian Edelman is dealing with lingering injuries but will play. LB Jamie Collins (shoulder) plus DB Jason McCourty and CB Jonathan Jones (groin) are questionable
Tennessee enters this contest with WR Adam Humphries (ankle) and RT Jack Conklin (knee) listed as questionable.
CB Adoree’ Jackson is slated to return after being out since Week 13, and that’s an upgrade for the Titans secondary. After missing Week 16 with a mild hamstring injury, Henry looked great during his romp over Houston last week. Tennessee has a slight edge in the injury category.
Patriots and Titans: Same Team Opponent Results
Playing four of the same opponents, this dynamic is fairly even. Tennessee lost 14-7 to Buffalo while New England defeated the Bills twice 16-10 and 24-17. Both teams defeated Cleveland, as the Titans won 43-13 and the Patriots posted a 27-13 victory. New England lost to Kansas City 23-16 who the Titans defeated 35-32. Tennessee spilt its season series with Houston, losing 24-21 and winning 35-14, while New England lost 28-22 to the Texans.
New England vs. Tennessee Final Thoughts and Pick
This is just the fourth time over 17 postseason appearances that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will take the field during the opening round of the NFL playoffs. Playing at home, the Patriots went 2-1 during the previous three games, posting wins over the Jaguars (2005) and Jets (2006) prior to losing to the Ravens in 2009. None of New England’s six Super Bowl championships were won as a Wild Card entry.
Tennessee is making its eighth playoff appearance since leaving Houston in 1997. The Titans last made the playoffs in 2017 and snapped an eight-year playoff drought. Tennessee defeated Kansas City in the Wild Card round prior to the Divisional playoff loss to the Patriots. Mike Vrabel, who won three Super Bowls as a player in New England, is making his first appearance as a head coach in the playoffs.
That is notable, as Belichick gives the Patriots a huge edge in the coaching category. Ryan Tannehill is making his first career playoff start here. Although he enjoyed a career year, nerves may be a factor while facing the Patriots’ tenacious defense. New England is 6-2 SU and 4-4 ATS at home, while Tennessee is 5-3 SU and ATS on the road. The Titans can grind it out and air it out; the former keeps this game close.
Pick: Titans +5
Season Record: 38-56-2