NFL Playoffs: Tennessee at New England Patriots Vegas Picks
Patriots Huge Favorites Over Titans
The last time the Tennessee Titans made the playoffs just happens to be the last time the New England Patriots did not.
It was 2008, and the Titans lost a close divisional round game. While the Patriots didn’t make the postseason that year, they have played in it every year since. They have a 10-7 record in those playoff games including two Super Bowl victories — in 2014 over Seattle and last year over Atlanta.
So, this is new territory for Tennessee. But this is nothing new at all for England, which plays in the first of two AFC divisional games on Saturday at Foxborough. The Patriots (13-3) are two-touchdown favorites over the Titans (10-7) — the largest point spread of the weekend (odds provided by bovada.lv).
The last time these two teams met was more than two years ago in December 2015. New England crushed Tennessee 33-16. The Patriots lost in the conference championship that year, the Titans finished that season 3-13.
Why Tennessee will win:
- Titans 9-4 against conference opponents.
- Turmoil in NE clubhouse may be a distraction.
- Won first game as underdog (1-4) against Chiefs.
Why New England will win:
- Patriots 6-2 at home, 10-2 in conference play.
- Defending champs have tons of playoff experience.
- 2010 last time they did not win a playoff game.
The Titans overcame an 18-point deficit on the road on wild card weekend to oust the Kansas City Chiefs. But this is Brady, Belichick and Gronkowski. Another rally like that this weekend at New England would be an absolute shock to the football world.
The Titans will have to win the turnover battle, control the clock with an effective running game and rely on another strong defensive effort to have any shot at beating the defending Super Bowl champions, especially at home where they are 6-2 this season.
The Titans, who are 9-7-1 against the spread and 9-4 against AFC opponents this year, have not been a double-digit underdog all season. They were 0-4 this year as underdogs before last weekend’s upset at Arrowhead.
The Patriots are second in the NFL against the spread at 11-5, but 5-3 ATS at Gillette Stadium. They covered both times they were two-touchdown favorites or more at home this season — 35-17 over Miami (-16.5) and 26-6 over the New York Jets (-16).
Marcus Mariota was 19-for-31 for 205 yards for the Titans in their win over the Chiefs. But the second-year quarterback also threw an interception, his 16th of the year. He’s had more picks than touchdown passes this season. That’s fine if you’re playing the Browns, but it’s a disaster against teams like the Patriots.
DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry combined for 1,403 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground this season. Murray has a torn right MCL and is a game time decision to play or not. Veteran tight end Delanie Walker lead the team in receiving with 74 catches for 807 yards and three TDs.
The Patriots, who earned the first week off with the best record in the AFC, have not lost a home playoff game since 2012. Tom Brady had another MVP season, throwing for more than 4,500 yards with 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Dion Lewis got the bulk of the carries, gaining 896 yards and six touchdowns on 180 attempts. Four receivers had 50 or more catches — Rob Gronkowski (69, eight TDs), Brandin Cooks (65, seven TDs), Danny Amendola (61, two TDs) and James White (56, three TDs).
Few experts gave the Titans a chance last weekend against the Chiefs. Even fewer like them this week as they are +600 on the money line. While it’s very likely the Patriots will advance to the next round, a productive effort by Mariota can keep this game within two touchdowns.
VGB’s pick — Tennessee (+14), Under (48)