After the Tennessee Titans miracle comeback against the Chiefs, and the Jaguars snoozefest win over the Bills, the Patriots will face the Titans in the AFC Divisional Game next Saturday night at 8:15pm EST.
The two teams haven’t met in the playoffs since 2003, when Tom Brady took down league Co-MVP Steve McNair’s team in the divisional round as well. It was a nail-biting 17-14 win in arctic temperatures, reminiscent of the weather in New England the last couple weeks. Luckily the forecast doesn’t appear to be quite so frigid this time around.
Since that playoff game the two teams have met just four times, with the Pats winning all four by a combined 166 to 52.
Initial impressions? Well, I guess I’m glad it’s not the Chiefs, who had me petrified when they were rolling over the Titans early in the game on Saturday afternoon. Of course we all saw how they fell apart so I guess the Chiefs weren’t the threat I believed they were. They just matched up well and had some talented pieces that could give the Patriots key problems in key areas. But oh well, their season is over and now we have to deal with Marcus Mariota, who made all the plays down the stretch that the Chiefs couldn’t.
We’ll dive more into the matchup this week, but in terms of the big picture the Titans are a below average team in just about every metric. Yes, they’ve got some tough trench players on both sides of the ball. Tight end Delanie Walker led the team with 74 catches, while Derrick Henry had 744 yards rushing. The loss of Demarco Murray to an MCL tear hurt both on the ground (659 yards) and through the air (266 yards).
I know. You don’t want to get overconfident, nor feed the Shank Tomato Can narrative but the Pats should roll in this one as the Titans might be the most overmatched opponent in recent Patriots playoff history. Still, they’re a young team who will play with nothing to lose. Their season has already been made, with their coach picking up another year with the team after their previous upset win.
The Patriots won’t care of course. They’ll lock in on the Titans like they’re an AFC favorite. It may lack some excitement but a playoff game is a playoff game and that’s why we write all them blogs. Let’s do our best to get fired up. Yay.