Kickoff: Saturday, Jan. 5 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Spread: Patriots -5
You have to wonder how the Titans season would have gone had they started Ryan Tannehill at quarterback on week 1. Tannehill has played as well as anybody in the NFL since he took over the starting duties from Marcus Mariota. Derrick Henry gives the Titans offense a sledgehammer that gives them a chance to win any game they are in and this game is no different. The Titans pose a huge challenge for the defending World Champions and the Titans are a very live dog in this one.
New England Patriots
This is not your typical Patriots playoff team and that is obvious by the fact that they are playing in a Wild Card game for the first time in a decade! Tom Brady has not looked the same, but to me, it hasn’t been Brady that has been the problem, the Patriots just don’t have the weapons around Brady that they have in the past–Julian Edelman has been banged up. The defense has carried the Patriots and that defense has not been the same in the last month as they have sustained some injuries that have really impacted them negatively. Do they have enough to make one final run? They probably don’t, but it’s really tough to bet against Belichick and Brady.
Running Back Derrick Henry finished as the NFL’s leading rusher, racking up 1,540 yards, 16 rushing touchdowns (tied for the NFL lead with Aaron Jones), and 5.1 yards per carry. He ended the year with five 100-yard rushing performances in his last six games, saving a masterstroke for the finale where his season-high 211 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns powered the Titans past division rival Houston and into the playoffs. The big issue here is even when the Patriots defense was at it’s best they had issues stopping the run. If Henry can stay healthy through this game the Patriots could be in for a lone one.
Who will step up and help Brady out? N’Keal Henry is my guy here, he has the ability to give Brady a target that can make plays. When picking this game though Derrick Henry is hard to ignore and he will be the difference. Take the Titans and the points.
Titans 23 Patriots 20