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Titans at Patriots: Preview, prediction, odds and pick

13 January 2018, 02:40 | Anna Jefferson

Titans at Patriots: Preview, prediction, odds and pick

Tennessee Titans then-interim head coach Mike Mularkey left speaks to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after their NFL football game in Foxborough Mass. The Titans and Patriots play in a division

Some were small (Tyrod Taylor), some were big (Ben Roethlisberger), some were Supermen (Cam Newton) and some were Saints (Drew Brees).

The 13-3 Patriots averaged 28.6 points per game on offense, second in the NFL.

That doesn't mean the Titans fear the Patriots.

"It's a very unique skill, because a lot of guys, once they get scrambling, they're not even looking downfield anymore, they're just looking to run". They're just looking to run. The Titans gave the home team Patriots a scare.

Roethlisberger is terrific at keeping his options open, and so is Brees.

Whether it's orchestrating the failure of sideline communications for the visiting team, or organizing a fire drill at the opposing team's hotel in the middle of the night, Belichick always finds a way to make sure the Patriots have the upper hand.

The Titans are going in to New England with nothing to lose and everything to gain. They're not good enough yet.

OK, slowing down Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been a hopeless effort for most teams.

Saturday, Mariota will square off against maybe the most clutch QB of all time in Brady. He is slated to return to action this weekend and will undoubtedly be a factor in these playoffs for New England. The NFL's stellar officiating crew in NY put their thumb on the scale in favor of the bigger Super Bowl draw of the Pats when they raped the Steelers out of the winning touchdown and guaranteed the homefield advantage to the Pats. What Marcus Mariota did at OR was special. He doesn't throw with great accuracy, and he won't blow you away with passing yardage, but he will fight and scrap. Titans Offensive Coordinator Terry Robiskie said on Wednesday afternoon that the only other quarterback he had seen complete a touchdown pass to himself was Super Bowl Champion Brad Johnson, so the Mariota-to-Mariota connection is a rare feat indeed. It was the first time such a play had happened for a score in postseason history. "We're playing against a good team, Divisional round, and I'm glad we earned the chance to be here to do it, and we've just got to go take care of business". Now you put everything that you have into this one-game season. "It shows that any time he touches the ball he's risky".




With that being said, New England should still be able to fend off Marcus Mariota and Co. That's where he does the least amount of damage.

"That was a tough throw, and that was in the pocket", he noted.

"It's kind of hard to get (Bradford) reps when you're getting your starter ready", Zimmer said.

McCourty further explained that Mariota's flexibility will test the Patriots' defensive discipline.

"If it's a one-on-one tackling situation, it's extremely hard to get him down in that instance", Patricia said.

"He's a great player", Amendola said.

Murray was diagnosed with a Grade 3 tear of the MCL in his right knee two weeks ago and hasn't played or practiced since suffering what Mularkey called a "pretty good" knee injury at the end of the Titans' loss to the Los Angeles Rams on December 24. But they'll need more. Derrick Henry is a big, physical back who can pile up yards if he's allowed to get going.

The only hope we have for competitive football is in Minnesota and Pittsburgh, where the two best defenses in football could be equalizers. Belichick is used to having final say in all things Patriot related. Henry is a bruiser who can run over guys. "He's a back that needs to get the ball 20 to 25 times to see how he can really control a game".

Mike Freeman covers the National Football League for Bleacher Report.



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