Pick: New England Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, November 11th, 1:00 PM
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
By Mike Mann., NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.comSpread:
NE -6.5 / TENN +6.5
The New England Patriots head south to Tennessee to take on the Titans in a Sunday afternoon slugfest at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The Patriots have a 7-1 record against the Titans since they changed their name from the Oilers, including a 35-14 win in last years divisional playoff round.
Tennessee comes into the game off of a big win against Dallas on Monday night that helped end a three game slide. They now find themselves a game and a half behind Houston in the AFC South standings and looking to keep the momentum going this weekend against the Patriots after scoring more points against the Cowboys than they had versus any other opponent this season.
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QUESTIONS ON OFFENSE
One of the biggest questions facing the Titans this week is how they will be able to trade points with the Patriots on Sunday. They rank near the bottom of the NFL in a majority of statistical categories, coming in at 30th in scoring, passing and yards per game. How they will attack New England remains to be seen, but they do have a multi-faceted backfield with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis that has found success this season. The former Patriot Lewis leads the team in rushing attempts and is second in receptions with an impressive 33 on 37 targets. As a whole they have just five touchdowns on the ground with Marcus Mariota and Henry putting up two each and Lewis getting in once.
Through the air they haven’t been that much better, with seven touchdowns and no player having more than one on the season. Corey Davis is the team leader in receptions and yards, while Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor are the second and third options for Mariota. The Tennessee quarterback has continued his struggles from last year and has thrown and equal five touchdowns compared to five interceptions so far this season. How he responds to a New England defense that has struggled at times against scrambling quarterbacks this season will be a major subplot to Sunday’s matchup.
That same Patriot defense was at its best last Sunday, holding Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay to their lowest point total of the season. Their front four led by Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise did a great job closing the pocket around Rodgers and will hope to do the same this weekend against the agile Mariota. New England is fourth in the league this year in defensive takeaways, and thanks to shut down coverage by cornerbacks like Stephon Gilmore, they will hope to continue that same pressure to cause more turnovers against the Titans on Sunday.
The Patriots were without three of their offensive starters on Sunday, with Rob Gronkowski, Sony Michel and Shaq Mason all missing the game due to injury. It has already been announced that Michel is expected to play this weekend, which should immediately boost a Patriots backfield that got a shot of adrenaline last week with the successful use of Cordarelle Patterson. Having those two plus James White as options could be a source of success for New England against a Titans team that ranks 19thin the league against the run.
One person sure to be looking forward to this week is Tom Brady, who has enjoyed some of his best career success against the Titans. His QBR of 109.4 is the third highest he has versus any team, and over the years has put up an impressive 12-1 TD/INT ratio.
THE FINAL DECISION
There will be a lot of familiar faces on the field Sunday, from now Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to players such as Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler. No matter who has been on the field for Tennessee, Tom Brady and the Patriots have absolutely dominated them, winning seven straight in the series including the last five by an average of 27 points per game. While they may not win by such a blow out amount this time around, I will be backing the Patriots to get the win and cover on the round in Tennessee.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England -6.5