Tennessee at New England: 2018 NFL Playoffs Odds, Prediction
The Tennessee Titans surprised many last weekend, when they upset the Kansas City Chiefs to move onto the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. This game is the third meeting all-time in the playoffs between these two franchises. The two teams split the first two games in the series. The Patriots won the last game 17-14, back in January 2004 (with Tom Brady at quarterback). The other game took place in 1979.
It took a touchdown reception by quarterback Marcus Mariota and a complete second-half collapse by Andy Reid for the Tennessee Titans to move onto the next round of the playoffs. Down by 18 points at the half, teams had previous got 67-3 when trailing by that margin or move. Of course, the Chiefs abandoning the run game and struggling on defence allowed the Titans to get back into the game and eventually take the lead and win.
The Titans will not have the same luxuries against the New England Patriots on Saturday night. Although Derrick Henry had a great game, the Titans do not have the offensive playmakers needed to match New England’s high-powered offence. If they can get DeMarco Murray back from injury (who should now spell Henry, not the other way around), they could be able to run the ball effective enough to limit Tom Brady’s offensive possessions.
The problem for the Titans is their defence. Even though they held the Kansas City Chiefs in check in the second half, the Titans went into half-time with 264 yards and 21 points allowed. The injury to tight end Travis Kelce hurt the Chiefs offence. He had four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown before a concussion knocked him out of the game. The Titans do not have the personnel to stop elite tight ends like Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski.
New England Patriots
Recent news surrounding the relationship between Tom Brady, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick are the biggest concerns facing the Patriots in the playoffs. The team is healthy, Tom Brady is likely to win the NFL MVP, and their defence is much improved from their lacklustre start. However, the news of a rift between the three could ultimately lead to the end of the Patriots dynasty.
However, it does not seem like this week will be the end for the Patriots. The Patriots have just about every advantage imaginable over the Tennessee Titans. They are better coached, better quarterbacked have better skilled positions and have a stronger defence.
Tom Brady, who is competing with Todd Gurley for NFL MVP, has looked a little off as of late. The week off should serve him well, letting him rest his arm. At 40 years old, Brady is nearing the twilight of his career, but through his dedication and personal regiment, he is playing at a higher level than any other 40-year old in NFL history.
Game Preview And Predictions
The Patriots enter this game as the largest favourite of the playoffs at -13.0. Last season, when the Patriots hosted the Houston Texans in the divisional round, they opened as 15.0 point favourites, reaching as high as 16.5 on some sportsbooks. The Texans made things interesting in the first-half before the Patriots took off in the second-half to win 34-16.
This game has a similar feel to the one against the Texans. The Titans are a considerable less experienced and talented than the Patriots. The Titans have a better quarterback than the Texans did last year, but that Texans team was overall more talented. The Titans inability to stop Travis Kelce does not bode well in the divisional round against the Patriots.
The Titans do not have the personnel on defence to stop tight end Rob Gronkowski. While, the Patriots are best-served not over to use Gronkowski (to ensure he is healthy for the Conference Championship game), if the Titans do somehow get out to a lead, the Patriots will run Gronkowski up the seam for high-percentage chunk plays.
Even if Tom Brady is not playing his best, the Patriots run game has come alive with Dion Lewis. Lewis has 510 rushing yards over his last six games and is averaging over 100 yards from scrimmage. The Patriots have not seen such production from the running back position since Corey Dillon was setting franchise records over a decade ago.
The only question left is whether the Titans can cover the 13.0 point spread. In the Patriots last eight home playoffs games, they have won by more than 13 points five times, Straight up they are 7-1 in those games. Excluding the Ravens, one of the few teams to give the Patriots trouble, they have not had much of a problem at home in the postseason. If the line moves to more than 13.0 than consider betting the Titans, but at -13.0 the Patriots are a good bet.
The over/under on this game opened at 46.5, which is good enough for the highest line of the divisional round. The New England Patriots and opponents have gone over 46.5 in their last four postseason games and eight of their last nine. The Tennessee Titans have not scored more than 24 points in their last 11 games (including their postseason game against Kansas City).
The statistics point towards the Patriots putting up big offensive numbers. Because it is completely conceivable that the Patriots put up 34 points, the Titans would only need two touchdowns or a touchdown and two field goals to push this game to the over. Two touchdowns or even put 13 points is achievable for the Titans, especially if DeMarco Murray is back.
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