The second NFL Divisional Playoff game for Saturday is between the Tennessee Titans (9-7 Overall, 3-5 Away) and the New England Patriots (13-3 Overall, 6-2 Home). It will be played tonight in soggy Foxboro, MA at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m. E.T. The Titans made it to the second week of the playoffs by beating the Kansas City Chiefs last week 22-21. The Patriots not only earned a bye for the first week of the AFC playoffs, but they also won home field for the entire series of games. Our Tennessee plays New England 2018 AFC Divisional Playoff pick has the Pats at anywhere from -13.0 to -14.0 and the over/under at a firm 48.0.
The Titans are averaging 20.9 PPG. QB Marcus Mariota (62.0 COMP%, 13 TDs, 15 INTs) will need to be perfect in this one especially with half of the rushing tandem, DeMarco Murray, ruled out for this game with a bad knee. That means that RB Derrick Henry, who’s averaging 4.2 YPA and has five TDs, will see a lot of work today. Mariota has a trio of fine pass catchers comprised of TE Delanie Walker (74 REC, 807 YDs, 10,9 AVG, 3 TDs) and WRs Rishard Matthews (55 REC, 795 YDs, 15.1 AVG, 4 TDs) and Eric Decker (54 REC, 563 YDs, 10.4 AVG, 1 TD). The defense is holding teams to 22.3 PPG. The Titans pass rush is solid and comes to this game with 43 sacks. The Titan D also has a dozen picks, 11 FF, and nine fumbles recovered. If safety Kevin Byard (8 INTs, 16 PD) and LB Wesley Woodyard (124 TCKLs, 5 SCKs, 10 TFL, 5 PD) can have big games, that will have a major impact on this game.
- Defense is solid, but offense underperforms
- Mariota an uncertainty, can be hot or cold
- Running game hampered with Murray out
New England Overview
New England’s 28.6 PPG on offense ranked first in the AFC. The Pats will be without RBs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillisee, but dual-threat James White, who’s had 43 rushes and averaged 4.0 YPA and 56 catches for 429 yards and three TDs, is expected to return for today’s game. QB Tom Brady (66.3 COMP%, 32 TDs, 8 INTs) has a fine stable of receivers that includes powerful TE Rob Gronkowski (69 REC, 1,084 YDs, 15.7 AVG, 8 TDs) and the always dangerous Brandin Cooks (65 REC, 1,082 YDs, 16.6 AVG, 7 TDS). Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan are dependable outlet men. Top running back Dion Lewis (180 ATT, 896 YDs, 5.0 AVG, 6 TDs) is an able anchor.
The Pats allowed just 18.4 PPG, which was fifth in the NFL. They have 42 sacks, 12 INTs, and nine forced fumbles with six recovered. Safety Malcom Butler (2 INTs, 12 PD) and corner Duron Harmon (4 INTs, 7 PD) are top pass defenders for the Patriots, while LB Kyle Van Noy (5.5 SCKs, 4 TFL, 2 PD) and DE Trey Flowers (6.5 SCKs, 3 TFL, 3 PD) will be looking to stop the Titan rush and pressure Mariota.
- Brady is accurate and smart
- Defense can mitigate scoring
- RB Injuries may be offset by White’s return
Three AFC Divisional Playoff Takeaways
Here are our Tennessee plays New England 2018 AFC Divisional Playoff pick takeaways-
- New England has a major edge at QB
- Edge on defense goes to Pats
- Home field is a major advantage for Patriots
Our 2018 AFC Divisional Playoff Pick
The spread is big at 13.0. Still, we think the Pats will cover today. They are primed, rested, and at home. Our Tennessee plays New England 2018 AFC Divisional Playoff pick is the Patriots at -13.0. We are going with the over at 48.0. That over is with the expectation that the Titans will be good for at least 12 points.