The NFL playoffs begin with a thrilling Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots matchup. Tennessee put a hurting on the Houston Texans in the final game of the regular season. Derrick Henry saved his best performance for last. Henry rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns — both season highs. He did so while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. In doing so, Henry became the NFL’s rushing leader for 2019. Henry finished with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns, leading the NFL in both categories.
Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots AFC Wild Card
Saturday, January 4th – 8:15PM ET – Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Betting Line: New England -5, Total 43.5
The running game facilitated things for Ryan Tannehill. He passed for 198 yards and two touchdowns. He hit A.J. Brown four times for a game-high 124 yards and a touchdown.
It should be noted that Houston rested several starters since the game meant nothing for their playoff standings.
The Patriots are coming off a rare loss at home to Miami. The loss dropped New England to the wild card game. It will be their first wild card game since the 2009 season. They lost that game 33-14 to the Baltimore Ravens.
This could spell trouble for a team that has not looked their best against quality competition.
New England won’t reach the Super Bowl Odds this year. I’ve been saying and writing that for three months at this point. This article isn’t about that, however.
Tennessee is not the team to beat the Patriots. New England will survive to play another game. They’re a top-5 rushing defense which is all they need against Tennessee. As long as Brady & Co. can muster up 21 points, they should be able to hold the Titans to 17 or so. Henry won’t run all over this defense like he’s done to teams all season.
Tom Brady has not been himself. Whether he’s fallen off “the cliff” or not, is an argument for another day. The man passed for over 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns while having no #1 receiver or tight end for the majority of the season.
I don’t trust Ryan Tannehill, never have. He’s got a hell of a receiver in A.J. Brown, but Tannehill is not the quarterback I’m picking to eliminate Bill Belichick’s Patriots from the playoffs.
While we’re on the subject of Belichick, Ryan Tannehill is 4-7 against the Patriots. He’s thrown for 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He’s also been sacked 37 times, more than he’s been sacked by any other team.
Take the Pats to win on Saturday. We’ll reconvene next week to discuss how much farther they’ll go.