New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans Prediction: Should We Keep Riding the Pats?
The Tennessee Titans continued the trend of four straight weeks where a double-digit favorite has lost outright, as they were beaten at home by the division-rival Texans. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots turned in one of their most dominant performances of the season in a shutout win over the Falcons last Thursday night. So who has the upper hand this week in what could be a possible AFC playoff preview?
New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds
Date: November 28
Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
Where to Watch: CBS
New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans INJURY REPORT
Questionable: WR A.J. Brown, LB Ola Adeniyi, CB Chris Jackson, WR Marcus Johnson
OUT: LB Joe Jones, TE Geoff Swaim, LB David Long Jr., CB Greg Mabin, RB Jeremy McNichols, CB Janoris Jenkins, LB Rashaan Evans, G Nate Davis
OUT: LB Josh Uche, LB Jaime Collins Sr., DT Byron Cowart, LB Harvey Langi, CB Jonathan Jones, DE Henry Anderson
New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans Prediction
The Tennessee Titans made history of the wrong kind in their loss to the Texans last week. Houston's win was the latest into a season since the 1970 merger that the team with the worst conference record beat the team with the best record in the conference. Tennessee had an uncharacteristically poor day offensively, specifically quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who tied a career-high with four interceptions. Tennessee's -5 turnover margin was their worst in a game since 2012. As a result, the loss snapped their six-game winning streak and four-game home winning streak.
The New England Patriots seemingly went from 2-4 to a bonafide AFC contender in the blink of an eye. During their current five-game win streak, the Patriots have dominated, winning the five games by 125 combined points. That is the team's best point differential over a five-game span since 2010 when Tom Brady roamed the sidelines. In addition, New England's defense had four takeaways in their win over Atlanta, tying a season-high. They now have 21 takeaways on the season, which is tied for the second-most in the league. Their defense also ranks second allowing 16.1 PPG, and their 41 QBR allowed to opponents is also second-best in football.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has long been a master at morphing his game plans week-by-week. His latest genius move was surprising the Falcons with how much zone defense they played. New England played zone 81% of the time in their Thursday night win. That was their highest percentage of playing zone defense in a game since the league began tracking the statistic in 2016.
It was wise for Belichick to be so zone-heavy, given how successful they have been with it this season. In Weeks 1-6, the Patriots played zone on 33% of plays and allowed 6.3 yards per dropback and a 49 combined QBR. Since Week 7, they have played zone on 64% of plays and have allowed 4.4 yards per dropback (ranks 2nd in NFL) and a 13 QBR (also second in NFL).
A concerning thing about Tennessee heading into this week is their decline in offensive production without Derrick Henry. In eight games with Henry, the Titans averaged 28.4 PPG, 147.6 rush yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry, and had 27 plays of 20+ yards. In the three games without Henry, the Titans are averaging 21.3 PPG, 79.3 rush yards per game, 3.0 yards per carry, and have had three plays of 20+ yards.
Without any semblance of a running game heading into this week, New England's defense can pin their ears back and get after Ryan Tannehill. The Patriots pressured Falcons quarterbacks on 42% of their dropbacks last week, which was the team's fifth game with at least a 40% pressure rate this season. And given Tannehill's tendencies to turn the ball over without the safety net of Henry in the backfield, that spells doom for the Titans offense this week.
With as much credit as we have given New England's defense for their recent success, one should not forget the stellar play of rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Jones entered last week with a 69% completion percentage, which is on pace to set the NFL rookie record. He is getting outstanding protection from his offensive line, which was at its peak performance in their win against Cleveland two weeks ago, as they posted their best pass block win rate of the season in that game.
The Patriots have covered the spread in each of their last five games, and they have shown nothing to indicate they are not destined for another big win this week.
New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans Pick
- PATRIOTS -5.5 (-110)