The Patriots’ first playoff opponent is set, but there won’t be much discussion of the Titans this week. Instead the ESPN article from last week will continue to be rehashed, the Pats will be faulted for not having better opponents and everyone will sit and wonder whether Robert Kraft will sell the team, Bill Belichick will jump ship and start over somewhere else or Tom Brady will demand a trade.
Of course none of those last three are going to happen, but that’s what we get to listen to and read this week, unless you’ve developed the superhuman power to avoid the loudmouths and idiots who cover Boston sports as I have. Just this morning I had Kirk and Callahan on for a brief moment by accident and was amazed to hear their entire developed narrative from the ESPN story.
There’s plenty of that going on out there. That the Pats should’ve gotten more for Garoppolo. That they could’ve managed to keep both Garoppolo and Brady under the salary cap. That Belichick is going to go work for Dave Gettlemen and the Giants because this entire episode just infuriated him and made him have a “tantrum” as Kirk and Callahan were putting it.
The perceived lack of drama on the field, especially facing a team like the Titans, has left a vacuum. Now those who get paid to talk about football, and can barely do it when the Pats are playing a team with the league MVP on it, much less a lackluster one like Tennessee, are all in on the ESPN story and are spinning into something far bigger than the article itself even was.
So whatever. If you enjoy having your buttons pushed like they’ll do all week, more power to you. Everyone is allowed to be entertained however they choose. I started this blog so I could write about football. Well, football and Bill Belichick’s hoodies. But the battle between the lines is what is most fascinating to me and that’s what I’ll stick to.
Here are this week’s Posits on Wild Card weekend, the Titans and nothing more to do with the Kraft-Belichick-Brady love triangle.
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— Leave it to the Chiefs to completely fall apart after looking like a Super Bowl favorite for the first half of their game against the Titans. As soon as Travis Kelce went out the Chiefs offense looked in disarray. It was so remarkable, and made me feel like a fool for being so worried that the Chiefs would come back to Foxboro and knock the Pats off there for the second time this season. Now it looks like the Chiefs will move on from Alex Smith and I can stop concerning myself with a team that plays with good ball security and consistent execution.
— The success the Chiefs had with Kelce early on shows how susceptible the Titans could be to an attack led by Rob Gronkowski. Of course we know Gronk is a game-changer and it feels like he’ll be the centerpiece on Saturday night.
— The only thing I’ll say for the Titans at this point is that they could’ve folded in KC but they didn’t. They’re a proud team and one that never stopped fighting, led by Marcus Mariota who seems like he could be a great quarterback in the future if he could find an offensive coordinator that knew how to use him properly.
— On paper the easiest matchup to predict would be Patrick Chung covering Delanie Walker. I’m sure they’ll sprinkle in some McCourty on him too. If you missed it, Jeff Howe had a great piece on Chung and how good he is. He really gives the Pats so much flexibility.
— Should be weird for old friend Logan Ryan to return to Gillette for the first time under these conditions, and poor Jason McCourty, who left for Cleveland last offseason and missed on a chance at not only winning a game this year, but playing against his twin. If Chris Hogan plays I think he’d likely draw Ryan since Ryan has some familiarity with him and isn’t the best matchup for Brandin Cooks.
— That Bills-Jags game was dreadful, but I was happy to see the Jags pull it out since they’re far more likely to give Pittsburgh a tough time with their speedy defense. If the Steelers can just contain Blake Bortles on the ground it will be tough for Jax to score points. What a weird sentence eh? Just not sure Jacksonville is quite ready for a 2000 Ravens run, as much as seeing Tom Coughlin on the opposing sideline still gives me the willies.
— Not to get ahead of ourselves but there are a lot of interesting potential matchups down the road for the Pats if they get past the Titans. A Steelers rematch. A Falcons rematch. A Saints rematch. Lots of storylines coming down the road that should offset all the non-football talk that will dominate this week.