Playoff gameday!! This is why we write all them blogs!! Yes, the excitement is palpable here as I write this, just five short miles from Gillette Stadium with the wind and rain pouring down. Temperatures are scheduled to drop tonight and I’m really hoping that it doesn’t turn into one of those games where the field is leveled due to the conditions. Obviously that makes it a far more favorable game for the Titans, especially with their strengths up front and Derrick Henry‘s running.
Even more exciting for me this morning is that we’re taking Patshow on the road tonight! Nick and I will be joined by some local legends like Jerry Thornton (Barstool, From Darkness to Dynasty author), Matty Blake (WAAF) and George Kippenhan who does the Shit Pats Fans Say videos with Nick at TKO Shea’s in Rockland. We’ll be broadcasting live pregame and giving away a ton of tees and swag to those who join us. And even if you can’t join us you can tune in at Facebook.com/Patshow6 and see all the shenanigans from the comfort of your own living room.
Here are some notes as we count down the long hours until tonight…
— Adam Shefter reports that Burkhead and Gillislee are unlikely to play which honestly I’m fine with. As much as I’d love to have Burkhead to mix in a bit, Dion Lewis has hit a new level and I’m fine being forced to lean on him. Shefter also reported that James White is expected to play which is excellent news. Lewis can’t do it all alone, but a mix of him and White, with White taking the valuable third-down receiving role is a devastating combination.
— The Pats don’t have perfect health, but they got all the key players they really needed back — Van Noy, White, Hogan and Branch are just vital and all of them should be very much in the mix. Maybe Burkhead comes back for the AFCCG and can spell Lewis a bit but otherwise this team looks ready to go and despite some key first half of the season injuries they’ve stayed pretty healthy down the stretch.
— If you have a Boston Sports Journal subscription I highly recommend you check out the incomparable Miguel Benzan’s (@Patscap) piece on the salary cap heading into the offseason. No one wants to think about the offseason yet, but if you want the best read out there on why keeping Garoppolo and Brady was impossible this is the best place to go.
— Plenty of rumblings that James Harrison is going to be a key guy tonight and I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that he’s on the Patriots now. Such an intimidating presence that brings so much toughness to the front, toughness that is badly needed, not to mention a history of big game big plays that the Pats lost a lot of before this season. He’s going to be really valuable for the “keep Mariota in the pocket” gameplan, and then if the Patriots play the Steelers next week you can only imagine how motivated he’ll be against his former team.
— So much talk this week of who the Patriots were in the second half of the season and especially down the stretch, but the team that rolls out there tonight will not be the same team we saw over that time period. In a weird way we haven’t even really seen these Patriots yet, so there’s an element of surprise coming for all of us, including the Titans. Yes, we’re just assuming they put it together and click but there’s just a small voice in the back of my head thinking things might not instantly all looked seamless. We’ll see. I tend to trust Belichick on this though.
— I like the Falcons, Saints and steelers this weekend, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Vikes and Jags make things interesting.
— Finally I’m running a 15% off sale at The Prop Shop today with the code PLAYOFFS. Get in on that action before it’s too late!